California-based Crinklaw Farm Services, Inc. has chosen Cummins to power the world’s first autonomous orchard sprayer, the Global Unmanned Spray System (GUSS).

GUSS is helping to ease the labor challenges facing agriculture and provide gains in operational efficiency, precision and safety. Using a combination of GPS, vehicle sensors and software, a single employee can remotely monitor up to 10 GUSS sprayers at once across a variety of orchards.

Crinklaw Farm Services worked alongside Cummins to develop a suitable long-term power solution for GUSS sprayers. At World Ag Expo 2018, it was announced that the Cummins QSB6.7 engine would be powering the first and only autonomous orchard sprayer in the world. The QSB6.7 is a fully integrated system rated at 173 horsepower (129 kW) with a cooled EGR and High Pressure Common Rail fuel system.

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“GUSS’s whole design philosophy is based around innovation, efficiency and performance – building a machine that can spray row after row, day after day,” says Gary Thompson, marketing director at GUSS Automation. “For that, we needed a power solution we could rely on and Cummins has been very supportive in providing an exemplary engine package coupled with machine integration expertise. The QSB6.7 delivers clean and efficient combustion, and has maximized uptime.

“For us, 2019 is going to be a very exciting year. Our new manufacturing facility in Kingsburg, California will be completed, enabling sales of GUSS globally.”

Ann Schmelzer, Global General Manager of Agriculture at Cummins, added: “As an incredibly innovative sector, agriculture provides a fantastic platform for autonomy, particularly when higher operational efficiencies and increased productivity are primary objectives. Integrating ultra-clean diesel engines with autonomous service vehicles is a great example of how the agriculture industry continues to move forward.”

So far, Crinklaw Farm Services has developed a number of GUSS autonomous sprayers which operate as part of their custom spray application service for mid to large-scale tree farms. The California-based business has recently completed construction of a 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Kingsburg and is currently taking pre-orders for GUSS sprayers, with first deliveries expected this summer.

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