A new autonomous orchard sprayer is entering production in California, with six units on order for orchards and vineyards in the US.
GUSS, the Global Unmanned Spray System, is the brainchild of Dave Crinklaw, who previously created the Tree-See orchard sprayer, which turns its nozzles off when no trees are detected to reduce chemical use.
GUSS is controlled by a combination of laser ranging (LIDAR), cameras and touch-sensitive bumpers as the tree canopy in mature orchards prevents the use of GPS guidance. The self-propelled machine is powered with a 173 hp Cummins 6.7L engine, powering the hydraulic system to power the four-wheel drive, spray pump, spray fan, and all the electronics. A 90-gallon fuel tank ensures 14 hours of run time, while a 600-gallon spray tank is refilled via three fill inlets to reduce down time. Despite a length of 24 feet, four-wheel steering provides a turning radius of 17 feet.
The operations of up to eight GUSS units are controlled by an operator in a central control vehicle, who can view both visual images and operation data from each of the sprayers at the same time.
Photo credit: GUSS