Monarch Tractor is providing robotic and automated Agricultural Technology solutions with electric compact tractors. CEO Praveen Penmetsa will give us more insights into this industry in this exclusive interview with TechBullion.
Please tell us a little more about yourself?
My name is Praveen Penmetsa and I am co-founder and CEO of Monarch Tractor. For the past 5 years, I’ve been focused on AgTech solutions, building teams to develop and scale the next-generation robotic solutions for mobility, food and automation.
What is Monarch Tractor and what inspired you to start this business?
Monarch Tractor is the world’s smartest, fully electric, driver-optional tractor. We started this company to enable farmers to have a profitable implementation of sustainable technologies that are organic, efficient and economically viable solutions.
Could you explain clean farming to us in simple terms and why is it important in this day and age?
Clean farming eliminates harmful emissions and reduces the needs for herbicides. This not only improves food quality but also keeps employees safer and reduces farming’s carbon footprint, which is good for the entire planet.
The agricultural industry is using more mechanization, automation and AI, what is the current market size of these innovations and what trends should we expect in 2021 and beyond?
By 2025, the global compact tractor market is expected to reach $66B; the global Ag Robotics market is expected to reach $23B; while the global Ag IoT & Data market is expected to reach $21B. As such, by 2025, Monarch Tractor is uniquely positioned to thrive in these three global markets worth $110B.
What makes Monarch’s electric compact tractors better than other tractors in the market?
Monarch Tractor is outfitted with groundbreaking technology that empowers sustainable farming with actionable intelligence, clean energy and unparalleled safety features. We utilize the latest autonomous hardware and software technology to provide driver-assist and driver-optional operations, as well as deep learning & sensing suite to maximize overall farming operations. The Monarch Tractor is 100 percent electric and has zero tailpipe emissions.
Could you give us a walkthrough of the features & specs of Monarch tractors?
Key Features of the Monarch Tractor include:
- Renewable Technology – Traditional diesel tractors produce roughly 14 times the emissions as the average car. The Monarch Tractor is 100 percent electric and has zero tailpipe emissions. It also serves as a 3-in-1 electrification tool operating not only as a tractor, but with extra storage acts as an ATV, and has the capabilities to perform as a powerful generator in the field.
- Driver Optional – The Monarch Tractor can operate with or without a driver. The company utilizes the latest autonomous hardware and software technology to provide driver-assist and driver-optional operations. The tractor can perform pre-programmed tasks without a driver or an operator can use Monarch’s interactive automation features including Gesture and Shadow modes to have the tractor follow a worker on the job.
- Unprecedented Safety – The Monarch Tractor is packed with safety features including roll and collision prevention, vision-based Power Take Off safety and 360° cameras to keep operations running smoothly and employees safe, day or night.
- Deep Learning & Sensing Suite – The Monarch Tractor collects and analyzes over 240GB of crop data every day it operates in the field. It can work with farmers’ current implements as well as the next generation of smart implements. Sensors and imaging are processed to provide critical data points that can be used for real-time implement adjustments as well as long term yield estimates, current growth stages and other plant/crop health metrics. Utilizing machine learning, Monarch Tractor is able to digest this data and provide long-term analysis of field health, improving accuracy the longer it runs. Additionally, the data collected is securely stored in a Monarch cloud.
- Smart Device Operation – Via a smartphone or personal device, users receive tractor alerts, updates on current micro-weather conditions, detailed operations reports, data collection, analysis, and storage for more efficient farm planning.
On safety issues, what should farmers expect from a Monarch Tractor?
We designed the Monarch Tractor with input from farmers about their specific safety concerns and needs. We’ve incorporated anti-rollover technology, anti-collision technology, vision-based Power Take Off (PTO) safety and 360° cameras to help keep workers safe. Monarch’s autonomous capabilities include spraying pesticides, reducing farmers’ exposure to toxic chemicals.
Do you have any success stories to share with us from farmers who have used Monarch tractors?
Monarch Tractor has been successfully implemented in vineyards near our Livermore headquarters. Our customers have lauded its autonomous capabilities, data collection offerings, and its ability to boost overall efficiency. Brad Kurtz from Wente Vineyards said “The Monarch Tractor is the best put-together unit that I have personally seen.”
Any current investment or partnership opportunities to share with us from Monarch Tractor?
We recently announced the successful completion of our $20M Series A funding round. We’ve also partnered with several companies including VST Tillers Tractors, Parker, and CNH, among others to accelerate Monarch Tractor’s global deployment.
For more information, visit the Monarch Tractor website: https://www.monarchtractor.com/