Monarch Tractor unveils all-new battery electric, autonomous farm tractor
Monarch Tractor of Livermore, California has introduced a battery electric, driver optional, "smart" farm tractor. The tractor uses standard electric vehicle charging technology and a variety of self-driving technologies to allow pre-programmed field work. Additionally, an operator can use Monarch's interactive automation features to have the tractor follow a human worker on the job.
According to the company, "farmers today face numerous challenges including labor shortages, effects of climate change, safety concerns, increased customer scrutiny for sustainability demands, government regulations, and more."
Battery Electric Driveline
The heart of the tractor is its battery electric powertrain. The drivetrain provides 40 horsepower of continuous power for about 10 hours of operation, and short duration peak power up to 70 horsepower. Monarch estimates a full charge can be processed in 4 to 5 hours with a 240-Volt Level 2 charger. This allows for traditional high-torque tractor usage, and the tractor can be used to power electric tools and equipment in the field.
Monarch points out that by switching to an electric tractor, farmers will save on fuel and maintenance costs associated with internal combustion engines. The Monarch battery pack comes with a 10-year warranty.
Autonomous operation has been a goal for many traditional tractor manufacturers. Tractors often have relatively simple work paths and GPS can be used together with cameras and radar to allow the vehicle to follow a pre-programmed path safely. The Monarch tractor can be used with or without a driver. The company utilizes the latest autonomous hardware and software technology to provide driver-assist and driver-optional operations.
Monarch also allows human operators to control the tractor with hand and arm gestures, and the tractor can follow an operator at the worker's natural pace. The tractor is equipped with 360-degree cameras as part of its collision and rollover protection.
According to Monarch, the tractor will collect and analyze over 240GB of crop data for 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. There's even a phone app for notifications.
Monarch received "2020 Tractor of the Year" in the AgTech Breakthrough Awards, was named one of World Ag Expo's "Top 10 Best New Products," and was recognized in Fast Company's "Best World-Changing Ideas: North America, Energy and Food."
Monarch Tractor has a starting price of $50,000 and can be reserved now with a fully refundable $500 deposit. Shipping will commence in Fall 2021. The company has produced a brief video demonstrating their tractor's functions. Reservations and information are available at https://www.monarchtractor.com.
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