California Startup That Created the World’s Smartest Tractor Gets a $61 Million Boost

The MK-V is the world's first electric and autonomous tractor 7 photos
Photo: Monarch Tractor
Monarch tractor, a company based in Livermore, California, got everyone’s attention when it introduced the most futuristic vehicle in the agricultural sector ever imagined. At the end of 2020, this electric, autonomous tractor was ready to make agriculture more efficient. Almost one year later, a considerable financial boost confirms its potential.
At first glance, it might not be obvious why anyone would take the time to design and build a tractor with the advanced features of some of the most innovative cars. Not only is agriculture dealing with labor challenges and sustainability issues, but it turns out also that tractors emit toxic particles up to 14 times more than a car. Monarch introduced the MK-V as an answer to all of these problems, by blending zero-emissions operation with highly-advanced performance features.

The Californian startup recently obtained $61 million in a Series B funding round led by Astanor Ventures, which is a significant step on its way to making the MK-V available on a large scale. The company added that it will use this financing to expand its product offerings, and conduct “international pilot test programs for regional market validation.”

What was dubbed “the world’s smartest tractor” is a 70-HP electric vehicle that claims to make the driver optional, while also operating with zero emissions and integrating a unique capability for data collection and analysis. Using a camera with 360-degree views, the MK-V can collect up to 240 GB of crop-related data. The onboard smart screen also includes an interactive live map with weather information, in addition to several user-friendly controls.

The MK-V is also said to be able to operate for over ten hours, and even double as a backup power generator when needed. Monarch also developed a battery swap cart that can help the electric tractor keep going beyond those ten hours, for agricultural projects that require 24-hour operation.

With more electric and autonomous vehicles expected on the road from now on, Monarch is ready to bring this innovation to crop fields, as well.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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