Spectrum brings to attention Harper Adams University's The Hands Free Hectare project, which has used only robots to grow "the most expensive hectare of barley ever." Albeit expensive right now, the goal is eventually have robots dedicated solely to farming as they get more affordable.
While it’s possible that at some point there might be significant labor savings by fully automating farming like this, there are lots of other, more immediate benefits. With fully autonomous farm vehicles, you can use a bunch of smaller ones much more effectively than a few larger ones, which is what the trend has been toward if you need a human sitting in the driver’s seat. This means higher precision, minimal soil compaction, cost savings, and increased flexibility to deal with mechanical breakdowns. Without the need for daylight, you could also keep a farm active 24/7 with a very small human workforce just there (or even checking in remotely) in a supervisory capacity.
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