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Monarch’s autonomous tractor aims to transform farming – Source

A tractor moves slowly down a long field between rows of grape vines, spraying a fine mist of water on the plants. The space is tight but even though there’s no driver behind the wheel the machine stays perfectly between the rows. Its electric motor is barely audible. Cameras and sensors watch each plant, looking for signs of ill health or pest damage.

This is the flagship product of Livermore, California-based Monarch Tractor, in operation at one of a small group of farms now testing it. Monarch is the first electric tractor company making a serious play for the tractor market, which is currently dominated by fossil fuel-burning (and noisy) diesel tractors. The tractor is still being tested and the company hasn’t yet announced when it will be widely available. The base model will sell for a reasonable $58,000.

Monarch’s founders saw a conversion to electric and autonomous farm equipment coming five years ago, driven by the labor shortages in the agriculture industry, as well…

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