The development and distribution of semi-autonomous orchard and vineyard spraying technology is set to be accelerated thanks to a joint venture between John Deere and GUSS.
John Deere will provide access to its global sales channels to support market growth, while GUSS will continue its innovation and product development to best serve the horticultural industry.
Founded in 2018 GUSS, also known as Global Unmanned Spray System, is a California-based technology company with a staff of approximately 35.
John Deere small tractor and HVC production systems director Chris Davison said the collaboration was the result of a shared vision to deliver technology innovation that will assist permanent crop growers achieve increased productivity and profitability in their businesses.
"As demand for high-value crops grows, we see significant opportunities to help producers be more productive, while addressing the challenges such as limited access to skilled labour to operate equipment," Mr Davison said.
"The GUSS team has a deep understanding of high-value crop production systems, as well as strong relationships with customers and a proven track record of deploying innovative technology, while both companies are committed to developing pathways to grow more food using fewer resources."
GUSS' technology makes makes it possible to remotely control multiple machines with a single operator.
It also combines GPS and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology, vehicle sensors, and software, to move and navigate through orchards and vineyards.
John Deere Australia and New Zealand production systems manager Stephanie Gersekowski said GUSS had found a way to apply GPS technology in challenging conditions, meaning permeant cropping enterprises could also utilise the same level of exciting innovation now available to broadacre operations.
"Traditionally, using GPS guidance under orchards and vineyards canopies has been challenging, but GUSS has overcome this issue by developing several additional technologies, including vehicle sensors and software to supplement GPS and guide GUSS safely and efficiently through crops," Ms Gersekowski said.
"With the ability for operators to control up to eight sprayers at once, GUSS equipment provides enormous productivity gains to growers by reducing pressure to find skilled operators, while also using fewer resources and reducing costs by eliminating operator error and downtime."
GUSS' technology is not currently sold through John Deere dealers in Australia and New Zealand.
The company will retain its employees, brand name, and trademark, and continue to operate from its current location.
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