The Hands Free Hectare (HFHa) project at Harper Adams University, the first in the world to plant, tend and harvest a crop with only drones and autonomous vehicles, has come to an end after a successful harvest. Next step is to take over low skilled workers jobs.
Harper Adams University, supported and led by precision farming specialist Precision Decisions Ltd in the United Kingdom and was funded in part by Innovate UK, a government agency that helps British economic sectors transform from low-tech to high-tech..
The Hands Free Hectare (HFHa) project at Harper Adams University, the first in the world to plant, tend and harvest a crop with only drones and autonomous vehicles, has come to an end after a successful harvest.
Kit Franklin, one of the researchers, said “It’s not about putting people out of jobs; instead changing the job they do. The tractor driver won’t be physically in the tractor driving up and down a field. Instead, they will be a fleet manager and agricultural analysts, looking after a number of farming robots and meticulously monitoring the development of their crops.”
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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.
If combines in the future were similar to the size of the combine we used in this project, which was a little Sampo combine with a header unit of only two meters, it would allow more precise yield maps to be created. They would also be much lighter machines.
~ Jonathan Gill, researcher at Harper Adams University
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