Cummins engines selected to power autonomous orchard sprayer

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Cummins is to power the world’s first autonomous orchard sprayer, California-based Crinklaw Farm Services has announced.

The Global Unmanned Spray System (GUSS) is equipped with the engine manufacturer’s QSB6.7 fully-integrated unit, rated at 173hp (129kW) and including cooled exhaust gas recirculation and high-pressure common rail fuel system.

Global general manager of agriculture at Cummins, Ann Schmelzer, said, “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. We are excited to power such ground-breaking innovation.”

Making life easier
The intention behind the autonomous vehicle is to help ease the labor challenges facing the agricultural industry, while also providing gains in efficiency, precision and safety. Using a combination of GPS, vehicle sensors and software, a single employee can monitor up to 10 GUSS machines at once across multiple orchards.

At present, seven of the sprayers have been built and deployed on mid- to large-scale tree farms as part of a custom spray application service, however Crinklaw expect to begin selling the sprayers later this year.

The company’s marketing director, Gary Thompson, said, “GUSS’s whole design philosophy is based around innovation, efficiency and performance – building a machine that can spray row after row, day after day. 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.”

Interested in autonomous industrial vehicles? Check out the Autonomous Industrial Vehicle Technology Conferencewhich takes place during iVT Expo, on February 13-14, 2019, in Cologne, Germany. 

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James joined the Industrial Vehicle Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter and son who keep him busy.

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