Monarch smart electric tractors do not need a driver

Their heart is made up of chips and artificial intelligence from Nvidia.

Dec 11, 2022 - 09:11
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Monarch smart electric tractors do not need a driver

Monarch Tractor, a California-based autonomous electric tractor company, has announced the start of production of the first MK-V model. The first six pieces will be handed to Constellation Brands, a significant wine and distillery firm.

After four years of research, the MK-V tractor begins series production. In 2019, its manufacturer unveiled an alpha version, followed by a beta version the following year, which was then tested on several farms around the United States. The price of a single component should begin at $68,000, which is two and three times the price of a standard tractor powered by an internal combustion engine.

In its operation, the tractor employs artificial intelligence algorithms, which are processed by six Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX system modules. This platform enables the machine to operate in the field solely through computer vision, which is useful when GPS is unavailable. Each tractor is outfitted with two 3D and six conventional cameras for these purposes.

Operators may manage a fleet of Monarch machines using interactive automation capabilities such as Shadow mode, which allows the tractor to follow the farmer. The MK-V can be used as a tractor, utility vehicle, or generator in the field. It is the company's first product to employ the Jetson Edge AI platform, which is situated in Livermore, California.

Daily crop data is collected and analyzed by the tractor, which can also handle data from existing and new generations of equipment equipped with sensors and scanners. This information can be utilized to make real-time tool modifications, long-term yield forecasts, current growth stages, and other plant and crop health indicators.

While the Monarch MK-V is still in its early stages, it is far from alone in the segment. Well-known manufacturers of autonomous tractors include John Deere and Yanmar. It will also compete for customers' attention with the Ztractor business's electrically powered Bearcub24 tractor and three Agbot models from the Dutch manufacturer Agxeed.

The MK-V Monarch model is the first electric tractor that can be controlled by the driver or operate totally autonomously. The announcement comes at a time when the market for robot-powered agricultural gear is booming - the automated tractor industry is expected to reach $2.3 billion.

While the future of autonomous farming appears promising, most farmers are unlikely to deploy fleets of robots right away. Farmers will change their planting, weeding, and harvesting procedures to take advantage of automation in a methodical and progressive manner, beginning with mixed fleets.

Post by Bryan C.