Image

AI company partners Nordic Forestry Automation

4 September 2023

Södra Ädla is a new partner of Nordic Forestry Automation (NFA). The company develops next-generation operator support systems for forest machines based on sensor technology from autonomous vehicles and AI algorithms.

Thinning a forest involves constant decision-making about which, and how many, trees to harvest in order to best promote the various values of the forest. How the thinning operation is carried out is important for the long-term development of the forest but is usually done manually and based on the experience of each individual operator.

To make the thinning task easier, Nordic Forestry Automation (NFA) has developed an AI-based system to continuously support the operator in forest management decisions.

The company started in 2021 based on the founders’ research work on self-driving vehicles and AI algorithms. The founders met during their PhD studies through the national Swedish research initiative Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP).

“Forest thinning is a craft that requires 100% focus and takes several years to master. The total cognitive load is comparable to that of a fighter pilot. Sensor-based operator support provides better conditions for operators and forest owners to promote forest values. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue developing this technology together with our new partners,” said Lars Svensson, CEO of NFA.

By supporting the operator, the NFA system makes harvesting more cost-efficient, which improves profitability for forest owners. In addition, the technology creates new opportunities for local forest adaptations, and enables systematic and cost-efficient execution of alternative forest management methods that promote biodiversity and carbon storage.

The new investment will enable NFA to further accelerate the pace of its development. In 2022 and 2023, the system was tested in pilot projects with SCA and Sveaskog, the company will start rolling out pre-series products with Södra, Sveaskog and SCA.

“The investment and close collaboration with forest companies means that we can deploy the systems at an early stage and continue working closely with the operators. This is absolutely essential for building systems that can make a real difference out in the forest – for both operators and forest owners,” said Lars Svensson.

NFA’s operator support can be retrofitted to any type of forest harvester and supports operators in forest management decisions. The system measures, positions and classifies all trees around the machine automatically and in real time. It also gives the position of the machine and cutting head with centimetre accuracy. Data on each individual tree is continuously collected and delivered to the forest owner together with a report, enabling increased transparency, quality assurance of the harvesting and new opportunities for forest owners to apply alternative methods of management.

“We are delighted with our investment in NFA. The company’s AI-based operator support is a good example of the business models and technology that Södra Ädla wants, and intends, to invest in. The technology makes thinning easier and more precise and enables a wider range of forestry measures”.

“The technology also makes thinning easier for operators, which could eventually attract more contractors and forest machine operators to the industry. NFA’s technology generates direct value for forest estates, and we are looking forward to contributing to the company’s development,” said Erik Bengtson, Investment Manager for Södra Ädla.

Source: sodra.com

Read More
Image

4,600 kilometres for SCA’s electric log truck

SCA’s electric log truck continues to transport wood between Gimonäs timber terminal and Obbola paper mill, has now been in operation for over 1.5 years, covering over 4,600 km; SCA testing truck for log transport directly from forest. SCA’s electric ...
Read more
Image

Toroawhi initiative comes to an end

The Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) is announcing today that our Toroawhi / Worker Champion initiative is coming to an end. The Toroawhi initiative started in February 2020 as a pilot sponsored by WorkSafe. But the funding and initiative will ...
Read more
Image

New tool to manage forestry slash

Better management of forest felling waste has gained new impetus in Cyclone Gabrielle’s wake, with the sector firmly in the spotlight for the impact such waste has had on communities, ecosystems, and farmland downstream from harvest areas. Rotorua-based forest management ...
Read more
Image

February NZ log market update

Opinion Piece: Marcus Musson, Director, Forest360 February has kicked off with a hiss and a roar with log exporters pulling out the pencil sharpeners and publishing prices in the mid to high $130’s for A grade (except for Bluff and Lyttleton where you ...
Read more
Image

First unmanned forestry machine tested

A study published in the Journal of Field Robotics assessed the world’s first unmanned machine designed for autonomous forestry operations. Investigators demonstrated that using computer vision, autonomous navigation, and manipulator control algorithms, their newly developed machine can safely, accurately, and ...
Read more
Image

New CEO for Forest Industry Contractors Association

The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) has announced the appointment of Rowan Struthers as its new CEO. An experienced professional who has worked across the forestry sector in various roles including senior leadership and forest management, Rowan will take over ...
Read more