See the self-driving tractors in Interstellar? Now they exist, driven by NVIDIA

Nathan Le Gohlisse

Hardware Specialist

December 05, 2022 at 4:40 p.m.


Monarch Tractor-1 © © Monarch Tractor

© Monarch Tractor

Start of production for the MK-V, an AI-powered smart tractor from NVIDIA. Small in size but big in its embedded technologies, the device can do with or without a farmer behind the wheel.

It doesn’t look so futuristic at first glance, but Monarch Tractor’s MK-V is a technologically advanced tractor nonetheless. The latter takes advantage of two 3D cameras and six standard cameras, coupled with NVIDIA AI (via the group’s Jetson platform) to dispense with a driver and navigate autonomously in fields and other plantations without damaging cultures.

The 2.0 tractor now leaves the factories

NVIDIA Jetson platform enables MK-V to run AI applications in real time and with low latency, while saving power for longer battery life and longer runtime commented Praveen Penmetsa, manager of Monarch Tractor.

Monarch Tractor-2 © © Monarch Tractor

© Monarch Tractor

In detail, and as specified The Verge, the MK-V is equipped with six Jetson Xavier NX modules. The latter use the on-board cameras (3D and standard) to navigate without the need to use any satellite guidance system. An important prerequisite to be fully operational in agricultural areas, which are sometimes poorly or badly covered by GPS signals.

The first models have already found takers

The tractor collects and analyzes crop data daily and can process this data from current or next-generation sensor-equipped implements. This data can then be used to tune equipment in real time, estimate long-term yield, determine current growth stages and other plant and crop health parameters. “, we finally read in the press release shared by Monarch Tractor and NVIDIA.

Entirely electric and designed to be fully autonomous if necessary, the MK-V brings welcome innovations to a sector that is still very dependent on internal combustion engines and limited to semi-autonomous driving systems.

The Monarch tractor is produced anyway, a priori in small volumes, on the lines of the former General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio. The first six models manufactured have already found takers at Constellation Brands, producer and distributor of wines and spirits.

Source : The Verge, NVIDIA

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