Under the shiny stainless-steel exterior of the GUSS, or Global Unmanned Spray System, lie orchard sprayer, tractor and engine parts that should be familiar to farm mechanics across the United States. Good Fruit Grower was given an opportunity to look under the hood of the manufacturing process at GUSS headquarters last summer in Kingsburg, California.

Cesar Murillo bolts a stainless-steel protective spray nozzle guard onto a full-size GUSS spray tank at the GUSS headquarters and manufacturing facility in Kingsburg, California. This particular sprayer features the company’s select spray system, which uses ultrasonic sensors to target the tree canopy, without human operation. Beside Murillo are two other full-size sprayers being assembled in sequence. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Gary Thompson, chief operating officer of GUSS, demonstrates how the sprayer would be filled, snapping closed a receiver cap where a different farm vehicle, or nurse truck, would refill each autonomous sprayer in the field. Unlike current airblast sprayers, which are filled and refilled at established filling stations on the farm, these machines would be tended by an operator who drives to each sprayer to fill it with fuel and chemicals. Thompson also said many parts that receive constant use, such as the filler valve system, rely on easily obtainable mechanical parts, so farmers could replace them themselves. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Gary Thompson, chief operating officer of GUSS, demonstrates how the sprayer would be filled, snapping closed a receiver cap where a different farm vehicle, or nurse truck, would refill each autonomous sprayer in the field. Unlike current airblast sprayers, which are filled and refilled at established filling stations on the farm, these machines would be tended by an operator who drives to each sprayer to fill it with fuel and chemicals. Thompson also said many parts that receive constant use, such as the filler valve system, rely on easily obtainable mechanical parts, so farmers could replace them themselves. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Thompson uncovers the lidar module from a protective stainless-steel cover at the front of a full-size GUSS sprayer. The lidar module is one of several systems built into the compact head of the GUSS; climate-controlled computers operate the machine and sprayer with vision, telemetry, communication and safety systems. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Thompson uncovers the lidar module from a protective stainless-steel cover at the front of a full-size GUSS sprayer. The lidar module is one of several systems built into the compact head of the GUSS; climate-controlled computers operate the machine and sprayer with vision, telemetry, communication and safety systems. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Blake Núñez works on two sprayer tanks, one to be installed in a full-size GUSS, left, and a Mini GUSS sprayer, right. Both sprayers are designed for different types of farm plantings and operations. The Mini GUSS provides the ability to navigate narrow plantings with a 400-gallon tank, compared to the 600-gallon spray tank for the full-size sprayer. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Blake Núñez works on two sprayer tanks, one to be installed in a full-size GUSS, left, and a Mini GUSS sprayer, right. Both sprayers are designed for different types of farm plantings and operations. The Mini GUSS provides the ability to navigate narrow plantings with a 400-gallon tank, compared to the 600-gallon spray tank for the full-size sprayer. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Thompson says the common tractor and farm parts, along with the fabricated steel frame and components that are welded and assembled at the California factory, make the machines more accessible to farms that maintain their own equipment. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)
Thompson says the common tractor and farm parts, along with the fabricated steel frame and components that are welded and assembled at the California factory, make the machines more accessible to farms that maintain their own equipment. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)