Self-driving tractors rolling out in California could fuel

Some California farmers are going a little greener by opting for eco-friendly tools and transitioning to electric-powered, driverless, tractors. The company rolling these high-tech tractors out, Monarch Tractor, says this can help farmers save money, increase production, and help with the agriculture industry’s growing labor shortage. 

“It’s sustainability in action and its evolution of the human species,” fifth-generation winegrower and farmer Karl Wente said. He’s been helping Monarch Tractor test the tractors on his farm. “It used to be a big tractor where you can see the diesel combusting out, and now you just have this quiet electric vehicle running through. It’s a natural direction,” Wente explained.

California has nearly 70,000 farms, and farmers produce billions of pounds of fresh foods every year. Though, every year farmers face challenges, including record-high inflation rates and worsening drought on the West Coast. “Mother Nature bats last, and no two seasons are ever the same,” Wente said. 

SELF-DRIVING TRUCK COMPANY LOOKS TO FIX SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES FOR THE LONG HAUL

Vineyard farm owners face a growing number of challenges including worsening drought, inflation, and labor shortages.  (Fox News / Fox News)

This electric tractor could help with those problems farmers might face, especially by reducing the overall cost of production and growing, the company explained. 

“Farmers can now save more money by knowing exactly where to target their resources,” Monarch Tractor CEO and Founder Praveen Penmetsa said. 

LYFT TO ESTABLISH A HYBRID MODEL OF DRIVER, AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

A self-driving tractor plows through a vineyard near Central California.

The Monarch Tractor can provide farmers insight on potential crop yield and help save farmers thousands every year, according to the company.  (Fox News / Fox News)

“What this tractor brings with the whole data side is exactly what’s been done to the food. Not only that, but the insights on the farming operations can help farmers to limit their inputs and control their costs,” Monarch Tractor Co-founder Mark Schwager said. 

Rather than having a driver, the tractor has a remote operator who tracks and receives alerts in real-time. “There is always a human in the loop,” Schwager explained. 

A driverless, electric, tractor is rolling out on farms in California

The tractor has a full camera and sensor suite allowing it to map and tag every crop on the farm. (Fox News / Fox News)

Safeguards have also been set into place to prevent accidents. The tractor has sensors to detect livestock, crops, and workers and will stop until the tractor’s path is no longer obstructed. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM FOX BUSINESS

The company is hopeful these savings incurred by the farms will be passed off to consumers. “Technology can really make a big impact on bringing the cost down there and the quality up as well,” Penmetsa said. 

Future