Drones are almost commonplaces, and experts claim that autonomous cars and trucks are just around the corner, so 'Hands Free Hectare' and its technology should hardly come as a surprise. The innovative project, which was developed by a team of researchers from Harper Adams University, uses a fleet of drones and autonomous agricultural machines to plant, monitor, and harvest crops entirely without human intervention.
Farming might seem relatively straightforward at first blush, but modern agriculture is deeply complex. It requires thorough knowledge of soil quality, crops and crop disease, climates, farming methods and so much more. In order to automate that wide range of expertise, Hands Free Hectare sends out drones to retrieve images of the plots, and those images are then processed and turned into usable data by proprietary software developed by Hands Free Hectare's agriculture professionals. Once the software has processed the data and created actionable insights, it sends that information to automated agricultural machines, guiding them through planting, maintaining, and harvesting crops.
As the global population grows (and with it the specter of food scarcity), automated agriculture like that of Hands Free Hectare will become increasingly important in maximizing crop yield.