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1st Commercially Available Electric, Autonomous Smart Tractor Goes Into Production

Monarch Tractor has announced that its Founder Series MK-V tractor has started coming off the production line at its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Livermore, California. The Monarch MK-V is a fully electric, driver-optional, smart tractor with lots of bells and whistles.

The tractor’s combination of electrification, automation, and data analysis was revealed by Monarch less than two years ago with the goal of assisting farmers in lowering their carbon footprints, enhancing field safety, streamlining farming operations, and boosting their bottom lines.

With the purchase of the first six Founder Series MK-V tractors, Constellation Brands, a producer of premium, fine wine, craft spirits, and beer, has teamed with Monarch as its first client. Additional customer shipments to small family farms and other major multinational enterprises will come after the delivery of Monarch MK-V tractors to Constellation Brands.

Using a Monarch MK-V in place of a comparable diesel tractor will reduce emissions by the same amount as taking 14 cars off the road. Given that agriculture is responsible for almost 25% of global emissions, the zero-emission Monarch Tractor will contribute to significant emissions reductions as its use spreads in a sector that has historically been challenging to decarbonize. [Editor’s note: Just keep in mind that much of agriculture’s carbon footprint is due to meat production and related deforestation.]

The Monarch MK-V tractor’s use also aids in resolving a number of issues farmers face today, such as labor shortages, safety worries, elevated customer scrutiny of sustainable methods, rules from the government, and more.

Key features of the MK-V include:

  • Renewable Technology: With zero tailpipe emissions, the MK-V is entirely electric. In addition, it functions as a three-in-one electrification tool that can be used in the field as a strong electric generator as well as a tractor or utility vehicle.
  • Driver Optional: For driver-assist and driver-optional operations, Monarch makes use of the most current autonomous and robotics hardware and software, including the NVIDIA Jetson edge AI platform. Without a driver, the Monarch MK-V can carry out pre-programmed duties, or an operator can use the interactive automation features of the Monarch Tractor, such as Shadow mode, to have the Monarch Tractor follow a person around while they work.
  • Unprecedented Safety: In order to keep operations running smoothly and employees safe, day or night, the MK-V is packed with safety measures, such as rollover and collision prevention, vision-based Power Take Off (PTO) safety, and 360° cameras.
  • Deep Learning & Sensing Suite: The MK-V can handle data from current and upcoming-generation implements equipped with sensors and cameras, and it regularly collects and analyzes crop data. This information can be utilized for long-term yield projections, present growth phases, and other indicators related to plant/crop health.
  • Smart Device Operation: Monarch MK-V customers can get detailed operations reports, tractor status warnings, and data gathering, analysis, and storage using a smartphone or other personal device.
  • Powerful: The Monarch electric powertrain has a modest overall footprint and can deliver continuous power of up to 40 HP (30 kW) and short-duration peak power of up to 75 HP (55 kW).

“This is a momentous day for Monarch Tractor that has been years in the making,” said Praveen Penmetsa, co-founder & CEO of Monarch Tractor. “Our team has worked tirelessly and relentlessly with a mission to make farming more profitable and sustainable. We’re proud to see our commitment to technological innovation and sustainable solutions culminate in celebrating our first tractor off the production line, which, I might add, is powered by renewable energy.”

“We are pleased to partner with Monarch Tractor as its first customer, accelerating our deep commitment to sustainability while supporting a business driving future-forward innovation in agriculture technology,” said Robert Hanson, president of Constellation Brands’ Wine & Spirits division. “As we build a leading global premium, fine wine, and craft spirits portfolio, comprised of some of the world’s top vineyards including To Kalon (whose organic certification is expected in early 2023), we are focused on protecting and amplifying our resources while producing the highest quality wines and spirits in the world. Being the first to leverage the Founder Series MK V affords us an industry-first opportunity to do so, and we congratulate Monarch on this exciting launch.”

Monarch Tractor, which went on sale to the general public in 2020, redefined the agricultural sector with cutting-edge EV technology and unmatched automation capabilities to address farmers’ most urgent needs. Four months later, Monarch deployed its test program at Wente Vineyards, becoming the first company to ever use a completely electric, driverless, linked tractor on a commercial farm.

In addition to being named to the 2022 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, the MK-V has earned multiple prizes and honors, including “Overall AgTech Solution of the Year” in the 2021 AgTech Breakthrough Awards and an honorable mention for the CES 2022 Innovation Award.

The investing community has taken notice of Monarch Tractor, which has raised more than $110 million, including a $61 million Series B round in 2021. The largest electronic manufacturer in the world, Hon Hai Technology Group (also known as “Foxconn”), recently signed a contract manufacturing agreement with Monarch Tractor, a member of the NVIDIA Inception startup program, to manufacture the MK-V and its battery packs at the Foxconn Ohio facility. Other global strategic partnerships secured by Monarch Tractor include those with CNH Industrial and V.S.T. Tillers Tractors. In 2023, Foxconn Mahoning Valley, Ohio manufacturing activities are anticipated to begin, with tractor research and development continuing in California.

Most farmers work extremely long hours. Sometimes starting work at 4:00 am and working all day until 10:00 or 11:00 pm at night is not uncommon for the typical farmer — only to do it all over again the next day. Having one or several of these tractors added to their farm equipment would greatly improve productivity and probably the overall health of the farmers in general. Along with the overall environmental benefits of using one of these awesome tractors, they are definitely a win–win solution for farmers everywhere.

Source and photo: monarchtractor

 
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Written By

Tim holds an electronics engineering degree and is working toward a second degree in IT/web development. He enjoys renewable energy topics and has a passion for the environment. He is a part-time writer and web developer, full time husband and father.

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