John Deere has formed a joint venture with GUSS Automation. GUSS (Global Unmanned Spray System) is a pioneer in semi-autonomous orchard and vineyard sprayers.
GUSS, based in California, develops and builds autonomous orchard sprayers. John Deere says high-value crops (HVCs), such as orchards and vineyards, generate significantly higher value per acre than grains or oilseeds. The three primary high-value crop categories include bedded crops (vegetables and melons), vineyards (grapes and other berries), and orchard crops (almonds, citrus, olives, apples, etc.).
“As demand for high-value crops grows, we see significant opportunities to help growers be more productive while addressing the challenges of increasing labor costs and finding skilled labor to operate equipment,” said Chris Davison, Director, Small Tractor & HVC Production Systems, at John Deere. “The GUSS team has a deep understanding of the high-value crop production system, as well as strong relationships with customers and a proven track record of deploying innovative technology.”
Multiple GUSS sprayers can be remotely supervised by a single operator, allowing growers to spray orchards and vineyards more quickly and consistently, using fewer resources and reducing costs by eliminating operator error and downtime. The machines also control application rates and sprayer speeds across entire fields and in variable terrain with adjustable software parameters.
The GUSS machines use a combination of GPS, light detection and ranging, vehicle sensors, and software to traverse orchards without an operator. The SelectSpray function can be used to detect the desired tree, and spray the specific amount of material needed to properly cover it, regardless of height and variable terrain.
Also read: 10 driverless GUSS orchard sprayers trialled in Australia
“Deere and GUSS are both committed to investing in innovation and technology to help farmers be more productive and profitable while growing more food using fewer resources,” Davison said.
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Through a joint venture, Deere will help GUSS further collaborate with the Deere sales channel and GUSS will continue its innovation and product development to best serve customers, Davison said.
GUSS was founded in 2018 and has approximately 35 full-time employees. GUSS will retain its employees, brand name, and trademark, and continue to operate from its current location. GUSS employees, customers, and business partners should notice little change in daily operations resulting from the joint venture, Deere said.