In a world of self-driving mowers, cars, and even snowplows, the call for the precision and reliability of GPS controlled tools is sweeping across all industries, especially the landscape business.
For compact sprayer manufacturers Martin Lishman Ltd, their venture into the world of autonomous spraying became a reality when they were approached by UK based precision equipment specialist, Manterra Ltd. The plan was to mount a Martin Lishman Mini-Spray 125 liter demount sprayer with 3.5m boom on their XAG R150 fully autonomous utility vehicle and create a go-anywhere unmanned GPS controlled spraying system.
“We were struggling to find a UK based manufacturer who could fill all our requirements for lead time, quality, specification and value,” explains Andrew Manfield, managing director of Manterra Ltd. “Martin Lishman were able to fulfill all our requirements regarding these critical aspects, worked closely with us to meet our needs and were always responsive to our requests.”
The XAG and Mini-Spray combo provides a robust and versatile ground-based platform, which offers a variety of spraying capabilities at an affordable level. It utilizes the Trimble control system to deliver a full suite of variable rate application and targeted application solutions using Trimble Weedseeker sensors.
The use of the unmanned sprayer vehicle brings many benefits. From a safety perspective, operators have greater separation from chemicals when the sprayer is in use. Additionally, from an environmental stand-point, the battery vehicle is quieter and lighter than typical UTV’s or tractors, minimizing disturbance, and ground pressure.
“Field tests have been run successfully and we have machines in the process of installation with customers. Some of these are educational establishments so it will be interesting to get feedback from the next generation of operators”, Andrew Manfield concludes.
Read more on autonomous landscape solutions in the Turf article, “The Robots Are Here! But Who’s Using Them & How?”