Coalition to Advance Precision Agriculture

Hands Free Hectare 

01-03-2018 16:49

Last fall, the United Kingdom-based Hands Free Hectare Project announced that the group had successfully, planted, tended and harvested a crop with autonomous vehicles and drones — a true breakthrough.

Project member Jonathan Gill, a robotic engineer at Harper Adams University, theorized: “There’s been a focus in recent years on making farming more precise, but the larger machines that we’re using are not compatible with this method of working. They’re also so heavy that their damaging farmers’ soils.”

In The New Yorker, Martin Abell, who comes from a farming family and is a project team member, noted, “The older guys that have been sat on a tractor for the last thirty years, seeing that it’s not the best use of their time — they appreciate it.”

In an article about the innovation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Technology Review suggested, “This is a proof of concept, and it serves to show that robots are certainly able to take over from humans when it comes to the repetitive efforts of farm labor. ... The future of farming is headed in one direction, and it’s automated.” Gill added, “We hope that this project has helped to inspire some people and shown them the range of interesting and innovative jobs that are available now in agriculture.”


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