Fully Electric, Autonomous Monarch Tractor Officially Revealed
By Chad Elmore09 December 2020
Monarch Tractor has formally introduced its fully electric, driver optional, smart tractor. The Livermore, Calif.-based company said the new machine combines electrification, automation, machine learning, and data analysis to enhance farmer’s existing operations, increase labor productivity and safety, and maximize yields to cut overhead costs and emissions. The company said it has secured several hundred farms as preliminary customers.
“Monarch Tractor is ushering in the digital transformation of farming with unprecedented intelligence, technology and safety features,” said Praveen Penmetsa, co-founder and CEO, Monarch Tractor. “We have assembled a world-class team of farmers, engineers, and scientists to meet today’s farming demands and are empowering farmers by giving them intelligent tools to collect more predictive data to implement sustainable practices, better share their story and make more money. Hundreds of farmers have signed on to receive a Monarch Tractor and we look forward to delivering a new level of sustainability and efficiency to their existing farm operations.”
According to the manufacturer, key features of the tractor include:
Renewable Technology: The tractor is fully electric and can also serve as a 3-in-1 electrification tool operating not only as a tractor, but with extra storage acts as an ATV, and has the capabilities to perform as a generator in the field. The tractor’s electric drivetrain is reportedly capable of providing 40 hp (30 kW) of continuous power and short duration peak power up to 70 hp (55 kW) in a small footprint for multi-purpose applications.
Driver Optional: The tractor can operate with or without a driver. The company utilizes the latest autonomous hardware and software technology to provide driver-assist and driver-optional operations. The tractor can perform pre-programmed tasks without a driver or an operator can use Monarch’s interactive automation features including Gesture and Shadow modes to have the tractor follow a worker on the job.
Safety: Safety features include roll and collision prevention, vision-based power take-off (PTO) safety and 360° cameras.
Deep Learning and Sensing Suite: The machine collects and analyzes over 240GB of crop data every day it operates in the field. It can work with farmers’ current implements as well as the next generation of smart implements. Sensors and imaging are processed to provide critical data points that can be used for real-time implement adjustments as well as long term yield estimates, current growth stages and other plant/crop health metrics. Utilizing machine learning, Monarch Tractor can digest this data and provide long-term analysis of field health, improving accuracy the longer it runs, said the company. Data collected is securely stored in a Monarch cloud.
Smart Device Operation: Via a smartphone or personal device, users receive tractor alerts, updates on current micro-weather conditions, detailed operations reports, data collection, analysis, and storage for farm planning.
Monarch Tractor has a starting price of $50,000 and can be reserved now with a fully refundable $500 deposit. Shipping is expected to commence in Fall 2021.
The Monarch Tractor brand was launched last year as an independent company by California-based engineering firm Motivo Engineering. The seed for the new company was the Motivo-patented Harvest tractor, originally developed as an project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
In October, Monarch Tractor and Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co. Ltd. announced a strategic alliance in which the latter company will expand its strategic development and supply partnership with the tractor builder. Based in Japan, Musashi specializes in products such as differential assemblies, transmission gears, linkage and suspension for electric and autonomous vehicles. It is focused on new businesses through its work with global startups. Its subsidiary MusashiAI is developing artificial intelligence technology.