While the future role of autonomous power supply systems is likely to expand, the total contribution to agricultural mechanization energy is likely to be of modest proportion. In other words, farms of the future will depend primarily on a purchased energy supply (i.e. diesel fuel or renewable substitute/extender, and electricity) to which autonomous power may make a valuable but small contribution to those farmers who wish to pursue the available options.
Typically, harvesting represents the final stage of crop production at field level and essentially brings the farming season to a close. In many cases, harvesting is the most labor intensive farm operation and not infrequently associated with the drudgery of rural life. The development of machines that could successfully harvest most if not all agricultural crops has been greeted with enthusiasm. And yet challenges remain.