Technology

Farming solo with electric autonomous farm machinery

Autonomous tractors and autonomous farm machinery. Autonomous farming is the future.
Autonomous harvester and drone sprayer.

Autonomous farm machinery is set to revolutionise farming worldwide, reducing carbon emissions, saving on fossil fuel and labour costs to make the way your food is grown more efficient and profitable for farmers.

Farming is going solo with the world’s first autonomous emissions free tractors and machinery hitting the market. No longer will farmers have to arduously man their tractors, ploughing, cultivating, spraying or tending to their crops.

Monarch Tractor, the world’s first fully electric, driver-optional, smart tractor manufacturer won a 2021 Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Award, also gaining a Bronze Award for being the first electric tractor using artificial intelligence to automate farming processes, greatly assisting farmers who face daily challenges such as labor shortages and chemical spraying safety concerns.

Thanks to Monarch Tractor‘s pioneering innovation, autonomous electric tractors and machinery is reshaping agriculture, reducing carbon emissions, labour needs, fuel costs and increasing profitability.

Dave Nuss and his son, Tylor run a 1,000 acre farm in Lodi, San Joaquin County, California, they grow tomatoes, peppers, garlic and cereal crops, spending around $150,000 a year on diesel to run their traditional tractors and harvesters.

Dave will be the first to take delivery of a Monarch small tractor. “Fuel and labor are two of the biggest expenses on a farmer’s balance sheet”, he said.

The Monarch fully autonomous electric tractor – Autonomous farm machinery

The Monarch fully autonomous electric tractor

It is envisaged that an autonomous tractor could provide a return on investment in as little as 3 years. Many farms are also seeking to turn to renewable energy, further reducing costs of electricity with energy delivered by the wind and sun.

Monarch Tractor, co-founded by the Mondavi wine family, aims to make farming safer and more sustainable, with the Silicon Valley-based firm having just successfully raised 20 million for production of it’s machines.

Deliveries of Monarch’s first tractors, priced from $50,000, (£36,107 GBP) starts late this year.

Within the next five years, around 20% of all small tractors sold will be autonomous, with demand driven by vineyards, orchards and vegetable growers.

Now, John Deere, the world leading tractor manufacturer has jumped on the bandwagon, investing heavily and recently announcing launch of it’s new range of fully autonomous tractors and machinery Their new autonomous tractor is a compact electric drive unit with a total output of 500 kW. The machine can be equipped with either wheels or tracks.

John Deere’s range of fully autonomous tractors and machinery

Fully autonomous crop sprayer drone

John Deere has also launched a fully autonomous crops sprayer drone in partnership with Volocopter. The drone has a diameter of 9.2 metres, powered by 18 rotors, with a battery charge allowing a flight time of around 30 minutes. The VoloDrone can be operated both remotely and automatically, on a pre-programmed route. The drone’s capability to fly very low over the crops enables the machine to cover a huge area of up to 6Ha (cira 14.826 acres) per hour, or 3Ha / c7.413 per battery charge.

John Deere’s VoloDrone – Fully autonomous crops sprayer

Artificial Intelligence is paving the way for a fully autonomous future in farming, but how much further will it go?

With obvious advantages of fully autonomous factory, farming and shipping machinery, there has to be limits as to the trust people place in machines to do the work. Flying and driving on public roads must surely be off limits.

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