Universal Bovine Identification via Depth Data and Deep Metric Learning

Asheesh Sharma, Lucy Randewich, William Andrew, Sion Hannuna, Neill Campbell, Siobhan Mullan, Andrew W. Dowsey*, Melvyn Smith*, Mark Hansen, Tilo Burghardt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paperPreprint

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This paper proposes and evaluates, for the first time, a top-down (dorsal view), depth-only deep learning system for accurately identifying individual cattle and provides associated code, datasets, and training weights for immediate reproducibility. An increase in herd size skews the cow-to-human ratio at the farm and makes the manual monitoring of individuals more challenging. Therefore, real-time cattle identification is essential for the farms and a crucial step towards precision livestock farming. Underpinned by our previous work, this paper introduces a deep-metric learning method for cattle identification using depth data from an off-the-shelf 3D camera. The method relies on CNN and MLP backbones that learn well-generalised embedding spaces from the body shape to differentiate individuals -- requiring neither species-specific coat patterns nor close-up muzzle prints for operation. The network embeddings are clustered using a simple algorithm such as $k$-NN for highly accurate identification, thus eliminating the need to retrain the network for enrolling new individuals. We evaluate two backbone architectures, ResNet, as previously used to identify Holstein Friesians using RGB images, and PointNet, which is specialised to operate on 3D point clouds. We also present CowDepth2023, a new dataset containing 21,490 synchronised colour-depth image pairs of 99 cows, to evaluate the backbones. Both ResNet and PointNet architectures, which consume depth maps and point clouds, respectively, led to high accuracy that is on par with the coat pattern-based backbone.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

LaTeX, 38 pages, 14 figures, 3 tables


  • cs.CV
  • cs.AI
  • cs.LG

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