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The tractor presented by Monarch Tractor, a startup in California, is electric, takes four to five hours to charge a full battery charge that allows it to operate for ten hours and is able to perform its functions without the presence of a driver.
The vehicle can help plowing land, harvesting and other agricultural activities completely autonomously. Due to the regulation in force in the USA, however, a human operator must always be assigned to monitor the operations, receive alerts in real time and can stop the work if necessary. On-board sensors detect crops and livestock on the way and include a collision avoidance system.
The replacement of a ‘normal’ diesel tractor with one of these alternatives allows to reduce the level of polluting emissions by around 77 tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing 17 light gasoline passenger vehicles.
In addition to carrying out agricultural operations, the tractor is equipped with sensors for data collection that allows farmers to obtain information about the health of the plantations and the harvest potential, while also providing alerts for irrigation or discoloration problems.
The company raised more than $ 20 million in March and plans to launch a series of pilot initiatives in three U.S. states, with the expectation of starting to sell these tractors for $ 58,000 before the end of the year. One of the selling points is saving thousands of dollars a year in labor and fuel.