At John Deere dealerships, automatic sprayers that John Deere has developed in partnership with GUSS Automation (Global Unmanned Spray System) will soon be available for sale.
Back in the early 2000s, John Deere executives adopted a strategy to apply digital technology to their products. And said that John Deere saw the use of new technology and artificial intelligence as a leap forward and growing its agricultural equipment business. Since that time, John Deere has continually improved and incorporated digital technologies into its products, including the 8R fully autonomous tractor, intelligent fertilizer systems, the John Deere Cloud Equipment Control Center and more.
Today John Deere doesn’t rest on its laurels and is constantly evolving. Back in spring Deere announced cooperation with Californian startup GUSS Automation to create semi-autonomous sprayers for gardens and vineyards and later on to set up their sales through John Deere dealer centers.
“Through our partnership and joint venture, GUSS will be able to sell its sprayers through ‘official Deere sales channels,’ allowing GUSS to focus on further innovation and product development.”said Chris Davison, director of small tractor and high-performance systems for John Deere
“As demand for valuable crops grows, we see significant opportunities to help manufacturers improve productivity while addressing the challenges of rising labor costs and finding skilled labor to operate the equipment.Chris Davison added.
The GUSS team has a deep understanding of high-value crop production systems, as well as strong customer relationships and a proven track record of implementing innovative technologies.” –
It is not yet known what brand these machines will be sold under, whether they will be painted John Deere yellow and green, whether they will carry a jumping deer emblem and when sales will begin at John Deere dealers.
One operator will be able to operate eight sprayers simultaneously
The GUSS sprayers being developed are described as semi-autonomous because operator intervention will be required to monitor and control the machines. One operator will be able to monitor and control up to eight sprayers simultaneously.
GUSS Automation currently produces two sprayer models, one with a 600-gallon tank and one with a 400-gallon tank.
These sprayers have a 178 Cummins QSB6.7 engine. The equipment uses GPS and other sensors and cameras, including LIDAR technology, which focuses on light detection and distance measurement to improve safety and proper operation. Plus add to all this a unique proprietary software system. All these features enable sprayers to work smoothly and correctly in case of GPS signal loss, for example under tree crowns in gardens or in greenhouses where GPS signal is unstable.
The sprayers are equipped with a safety system, and to prevent accidental collision with other farm workers. This will require all farm workers to wear a special vest, and if detected, the sprayers will stop and will not continue working until the worker in the vest moves back to a shovel-free distance.
The company said the system is so easy to use that a few hours of training will be all it takes to get started with the system.
Operation of several sprayers on the same field, can work thanks to the use of routes assigned on the basis of an interactive map of the field. The machines are capable of adjusting application rates and spraying speeds on their own, under variable terrain conditions, within adjustable software parameters.
GUSS Automation, is a fairly young startup that was founded in 2018 and has 35 full-time employees and several dozen temporary employees.
Insiders at Deere, revealed details of the partnership agreement, GUSS:
- retains all of its employees;
- retains the brand name and the Brand;
- continues to operate in its current location and office;
“Allowing the company to retain its own brand appears to be the same approach Deere took with another California startup, Bear Flag Robotics. However, Deere acquired Bear Flag and let it continue to operate relatively independently. Deere hasn’t done that with GUSS – at least not yet.”– said an insider at Deere who wished to remain anonymous.
GUSS today makes machines for use in orchards and vineyards; in the future, they will likely be equipped with wider booms and larger tanks, to work larger areas. Deere either takes the GUSS autonomous control system and applies it to its equipment, or it creates a completely new equipment for larger areas in the future. But it’s not known yet. We’re waiting for more information.
“Deere and GUSS are committed to investing in innovation and technology to help farmers be more productive and profitable by growing more food with fewer resources, thereby increasing their profits,”Davison said.