In recent times, we’ve witnessed electric cars take technology by its horns with both convenient and relatively extreme features. But while the entire world is grappling with fully surrendering to electric, self-driving cars, we are met with a more daring spark on the EV spectrum; electric driverless tractors, unarguably heralding the future of agriculture.
Newly invented by a California based start-up called Monarch Tractor, its electric tractor is officially known as the world’s first fully electric, self-driving tractor.
CEO of the company, Praveen Penmetsa in an interview with CNN Business spoke about the novel features of the electric tractors and hinted at manufacturing details of the electric tractors.
Here are some of the key features of the electric tractor:
– 10-hour battery life which can be obtained from a five-hour charge.
– It is programmed to carry out farming activities like ploughing, harvesting, mowing.
– No driver needed to function, only a remote operator who gets signals to stop or redirect during function.
– In-built sensors that can detect livestock and crops to prevent damage and enable it to work in tandem with farmers.
– Generates farming data that gives farmers accurate information on crop health and long-term yields, as well as irrigation leak or crop discolouration.
Monarch electric tractor say they are committed to elevating farming practices to enable clean, efficient, and economically viable solutions for today’s farmers and the generations of farmers to come. Each of Monarch’s electric tractors has been weighed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 53 tons annually — equivalent to taking 14 gasoline passenger cars off the road when charged with renewable electricity.
The company was able to raise $20 million in March and will be launching a series of pilot initiatives on working farms in three states California, Washington and Oregon. Farmers will be put through testing of the tractors and will also be able to purchase the tractors for $50,000.
Electric driverless tractors are an answered prayer for the agricultural sector and even more, the agri-tech industry as it has the potential of saving its stakeholders thousands of dollars a year in labour and fuel fees. A handful of other companies are also towing the direction of inventing more driverless tractors.
While Monarch is the first to sell an electric tractor, companies like California-based Bear Flag robotics, Denmark’s Agrointelli, and John Deere, have theirs in the works too.