GUSS’s roots can be traced all the way back to 1982 when its innovative founder Dave Crinklaw and father Bob started an agriculture spray business called Crinklaw Farm Services. Beginning with just two tractors, driven by Dave and Bob, they sprayed an average of 40 acres a day. Through hard work and exceptional service, they gradually acquired more customers and acreage.
Bob’s eventual retirement passed the torch solely to Dave who had big dreams of turning his company into an industry leader. Through key team member acquisitions: Orlando Mora, Richard Vicarri, and Ryan Johnson, Crinklaw Farm Services began to excel. This also allowed Dave’s inventive mind to get to work, developing the industry’s first 3 and 4-row vineyard sprayers, mechanical vineyard pruners, and the Tree-See orchard sprayer. These innovative technologies increased efficiency tremendously and lowered costs for producers. Crinklaw Farm Services, eventually renamed CFS LP, now sprays an average of 5,000 acres a day during peak season.
Beginning around the year 2007, Dave started having thoughts of building a driverless sprayer. This vision was brought about by ever-increasing labor challenges and a desire to achieve a higher level of efficiency and precision. Unfortunately, at the time, technology wasn’t advanced enough to support an autonomous vehicle like this. Since then, however, vehicle guidance technologies have improved drastically which prompted Dave to begin development of his prototype driverless orchard sprayer in 2015.
GUSS, standing for Global Unmanned Spray System, was met with many challenges throughout its development. The single biggest challenge in building GUSS was that GPS doesn’t work well under tree canopies. Therefore, other vehicle sensors and software were developed to supplement GUSS’s GPS and help guide the vehicle through the orchard. Overall, GUSS went through more than three years of development and testing before it was deemed ready for action. Dave’s vision for the future is fleets of GUSS machines spraying field after field in a very safe, precise, and efficient manner.