Australian experts are working on a prototype smart pet collar that will enable pet owners to track the location of their animal.

CSIRO's Data61, the digital specialist arm of Australia’s national science agency, is working with agtech company Ceres Tag on the device.

It builds on a previous project to develop smart ear tags for tracking livestock across expanses of open grazing and monitoring their activity and health.

The prototype collar uses both Bluetooth and satellite communications rather than one or the other to track an animal’s movements in real-time. Updates are sent to the owner’s phone via an app whenever their pet wanders outside of a boundary they have established.

The other approach available on the market is a GPS-based tracker that requires a mobile plan. These devices are often expensive, rely on cellular coverage and use a large amount of power, requiring weekly, if not even more frequent, charging.

The Data61 ‘Companion Collar’ requires monthly charging on average, depending on the amount of activity the animal performs.

Pets who remain within the virtual boundary set up by their owner will trigger the device’s automatic power saving mode, but those who wander outside will cause it to switch to GPS location and direct satellite reporting.

Other crucial information such as specific behaviours, out of the ordinary activity and data for health metrics will also be monitored by the Collar, with information being uploaded to the cloud and displayed on a smart phone app.