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Robotic Farm Completes 1st Fully Autonomous Harvest

It’s harvest season in many parts of the world, but on one farm in the United Kingdom, robots — not humans — are doing all the heavy lifting.

At Hands Free Hectare, an experimental farm run by researchers from Harper Adams University, in the village of Edgmond in the U.K., about 5 tons (4.5 metric tons) of spring barley have been harvested from the world’s first robotically tended farm. Everything from start to finish — including sowing, fertilizing, collecting samples and harvesting — has been done by autonomous vehicles on the farm, according to the researchers.

The team behind the project thinks that robotic technology could improve yields in agriculture, which is necessary if the world’s growing population is to be fed in coming years

The researchers tackled this problem by using commercially available agriculture machines and open-source software that is used to guide hobbyists’ drones.

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