Lely has developed a version of its Discovery robot to remove manure from solid floors rather than scraping it. Called the Discovery Collector, unlike the original version, which works only on slatted floors, the Collector contains a vacuum pump to suck up material, which is stored in an on-board tank. The material is first sprayed with water from a centrally-located nozzle at the front of the device, while a nozzle in the rear of the unit dampens the cleaned floor to prevent it from becoming slippery. The Collector’s two inflatable water bags (total capacity 70-litres) are automatically filled at the end of the run from a docking station, and as the two bags empty, this provides more space for the manure tank to expand. The tank is unloaded through the bottom of the vehicle at a designated dump point, and total tank capacity is 340-litres (includes manure and water).

The Collector navigates independently using built-in sensors, and routes and times are said to be easy to program. With an empty weight of 370kg, the Collector is available in the Benelux, France, Germany and Switzerland from January 2017, with other countries to follow later in the year.