FPInnovations and the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Sweden-Canada Innovation Days symposium held in Montreal in late November. The signing creates an opportunity for the international exchange of research on automated harvesting and advances their respective interests in forestry innovation.
The MOU also allows the organizations to combine their research might to work towards solving the common challenges affecting both the Canadian and Swedish forest industries: increase machine productivity to maintain low supply costs, make harvesting safer by developing technology for automated forest machinery, and attract a new generation of forest workers to address a chronic labour shortage.
Both organizations have developed their own research projects on automated harvesting to address those challenges. One of FPInnovations’ flagship projects is Forestry 4.0 launched in 2018 to bring automation to the forest sector. Skogforsk has developed a similar program centred on forest digitalization and machine automation that includes a teleoperations lab.
FPInnovations’ autonomous navigation project and Skogforsk’s teleoperations lab could become interlocking pieces of a puzzle that solves the dilemma of automating an industry that operates in densely wooded remote locations.
Imagine a time when people can operate forest machines deep in the woods from the comfort of the city through advanced wireless technology. Such a scenario may sound like child’s play, but it’s a reality that FPInnovations and Skogforsk are working towards.
“If we want to create impact with speed, we can’t afford to work in parallel. So, in that sense both organizations recognize that working together will take each country’s research on forest-industry automation further, faster,” says Francis Charette, FPInnovations lead scientist.
The five-year MOU enables FPInnovations and Skogforsk to share the transfer of information and technology through joint courses and symposia; participate in employee exchanges and study tours to increase awareness of novel approaches, and co-author reports on collaborative research.
MOU is part of a wider initiative
The MOU falls under the umbrella of the Sweden-Canada Innovation Initiative (SCII), which was launched during the symposium. The SCII is a broad platform supporting long-term relationships to encourage collaboration and foster co-creation of innovation ecosystems between Sweden and Canada.
The Innovation Days brought together Swedish and Canadian stakeholders from government, industry, research and academia to meet and discuss opportunities for joint innovation projects within the mining, forestry and public safety sectors.
For more information on Forestry 4.0 and on forestry automation, please contact Francis Charette.