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      GUSS takes orchard spraying to the autonomous level
The GUSS autonomous orchard sprayer marks a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable and intelligent farming practices. Image Hutcheon & Pearce

GUSS takes orchard spraying to the autonomous level

An autonomous orchard sprayer the result of a joint venture between John Deere and GUSS, a California-based technology company, is an entry in the Henty Machine of the Year Award.

Entered by Hutcheon & Pearce, the Global Unmanned Spray System (GUSS) integrates autonomous navigation, precision spraying capabilities, and intelligent data analysis.

GUSS empowers a single operator to oversee up to eight sprayers from the safety of the vehicle. This ground-breaking machine not only enhances productivity, precision, and efficiency but also reduces operational costs, overhead expenses, and most importantly, ensures the safety of workers. 

GUSS uses a combination of GPS, LiDAR sensors, and software to guide safely and efficiently though orchards unmanned. Its intentionally low-profile design, measuring 7 metres in length, 1.9 metres in height and 2.29 metres in width, seamlessly allows tree branches to flow over the top. 

GUSS uses proven dependable parts that growers know and trust. Equipped with a 2,727-litre tank, a 32-nozzle spray manifold with individual shutoffs, 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel steering, and a 14-hour run time powered by a 400-litre fuel cell and 3.8 litre Cummins diesel engine, GUSS keeps moving row after row, field after field, day or night. 

Utilising the innovative Select SprayTM technology, GUSS identifies the target tree and applies the precise amount of spray required for optimal coverage, irrespective of height or canopy size. This approach minimises material usage and reduces drift during application. Updates on sprayer information, including position, spray rate, and speed, are available in real time to GUSS operators. 

In the event of an issue, GUSS promptly halts operations and alerts the operator through visual and audible notifications, directing immediate attention to the exact problem. Furthermore, when operators are near GUSS while wearing the GUSS safety vest, the driving mechanisms are automatically disabled, ensuring utmost safety. 

GUSS has been engineered to be user-friendly for existing on-farm personnel, enabling most growers to be up and running within a matter of hours. 

GUSS efficiently operates in almond, walnut, pistachio, tree fruit, and citrus orchards and can be purchased through Hutcheon and Pearce. 

GUSS marks a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable and intelligent farming practices. 

Its ground-breaking features and advanced technologies usher in a new era of orchard spraying, revolutionising the industry while ensuring the well-being of workers, minimising resource consumption and maximising efficiency. 

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