Watch this 30-year-old combine drive itself

The Hands Free Hectare is 1ha of land in Shropshire, UK, which has been desiccated; tilled; planted; fertilised; sprayed; and harvested entirely by autonomous machinery.

Even the crop walking was carried out using robotics; a human foot hasn’t stepped into the plot.

AgriLand saw the autonomous combine working at Cereals 2018 in the UK this week. It was the first appearance of the machine outside of its home at Harper Adams University. The 30-year-old Sampo plot combine received a makeover and is now an extremely modern machine.

Getting the machine to this stage was a long process; but, put simply, the machine runs according to maps and a weigh-point plan. The combine basically follows a series of dots and is given commands – for example, to lift or lower the header.

The winter barley being harvested was rare, given the time of year, and the drum and sieves were opened up to allow for the conditions, while the straw was chopped.

You might notice a man with a remote control in his hand. He simply pressed a button to tell the combine to start cutting. Due to health and safety reasons at the show, he also stayed to shut the machine down in case something went wrong.

For more on the Hands Free Hectare and Cereals 2018 stay tuned to AgriLand.