Precision drones, driverless tractors bring automated agriculture closer to fruition in the UK

| August 10, 2018
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Image Credit: Hands Free Hectare
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Farming drones from China may soon be buzzing across British fields as a result of a new partnership between Chinese agricultural technology company XAG and Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom.

[The] research partnership …. will focus on the development of …. drones that spray crops and ground-based robots that will lend a hand to farmers.

Debbie Heeks, project administrator at Harper Adams, said the university is [getting] approval to allow British farmers to use drones for crop-spraying. UK legislation currently allows drones to perform surveys over British farms, but the robots are not yet allowed to release anything from the air.

“Harper is working closely with the relevant authorities …. to enable trials involving drones for the first time in the country,” Heeks said.

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The National Center for Precision Farming has developed some of the most advanced agricultural technology …. Last year, researchers …. successfully completed a harvest using only robots.

The “Hands-Free Hectare” project saw a combination of automated tractors, drones, and on-the-ground robots plant, tend to, and harvest crops without anyone setting foot in the field.

“The project seeks to prove that there’s no technological reason why a field can’t be farmed without humans working the land directly, and we did it,” said Martin Abell, a mechatronics researcher at Precision Decisions.

Read full, original article: Nation’s drones enabling UK farmers to reap rich dividends

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