Inside Logistics

Group developing off-road platooning for forest industry

Robotic Research, LLC and FPInnovations are working together to develop an off-road truck platooning system for the forest industry.


May 18, 2021
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Self driving trucks may soon be seen on Canadian logging roads.

An off-road truck platooning system is being developed for the forest industry. (CNW Group/FPInnovations)

Maryland-based Robotic Research, LLC, a developer of Automated Driving Systems (ADS), and FPInnovations, a Canadian private non-profit research and development centre, are working together to develop an off-road truck platooning system for the forest industry. This project will combine Robotic Research’s self-driving technology with FPInnovations’s knowledge in forestry and transportation to adapt the truck platooning technology to off-highway environments.

The multi-year project aims to accelerate the adoption of off-road automated-vehicle (AV) technology to improve safety and address a labour shortage.

The companies suggest the technology could also be applied in other resources sectors such as mining.

Class 8 convoy

Robotic Research will create unmanned convoys of Class 8, ADS-enabled trucks that follow a driver in a lead vehicle. The project will adapt existing technology to Canadian conditions such as incement weather and operations on off-pavement roads, particularly for resource roads in continental and polar climates.

“We are extremely proud to have been selected by FPInnovations and believe this project is a transformative model of how ADS can aid industries, like forestry, operating in perilous conditions or facing workforce shortages.” said Alberto Lacaze, president of Robotic Research.

“The unmanned truck convoys work in concert with commercial drivers to enhance their efficiency, while also protecting their safety.”

In Phase I, truck convoys will be put through safety trials that mimic the routes from harvesting sites to sawmills. Once the system is proven to be secure, FPInnovations will run trials on resource roads, which present challenges to ADS because of dust, sharp curves, and steep slopes.

Robotic Research is U.S.-based, global leader in localization, autonomy, and robotic technology transforming the way we move. Founded in 2002, the Company has been a trusted technology partner to the public and private sector for nearly twenty years. From people to platforms, at home or overseas, Robotic Research is driven to make the way you move smarter, safer, and more efficient.

FPInnovations is a private not-for-profit research and development centre with professional researchers who create solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness. Its R&D laboratories are located in Quebec City, Montreal, and Vancouver, and it has technology-transfer offices across Canada.