The logging industry is being driven by a wave of automation primarily with the usage of robots and automated vehicles for tree felling, pruning and transportation. One of the motivating factors behind this automation is the arduous and dangerous occupation of a tree feller. However automation is also being economically driven due to the gain in machine efficiencies. Here are some of the logging tasks that machines are usurping:
Felling Robots – Equipped with chainsaws, trees are felled systematically and efficiently. A classic example of the usage of this technology is on steep mountain sides. These have remained a refuge from the traditional human tree feller, however robots can now climb these steeps inclines that were not humanely accessible. Programmed with AI algorithms to distinguish between foliage and tree trunks, they are accurately felling trees.
Pruning Robots – This task makes sense using a robot because a tree feller has to scale great heights to remove branches and is very susceptible to falling or sustaining injuries. Using robots, they can climb the tree and apply AI algorithms to determine where to optimally trim and remove branches.
Driverless trucks – Although this theme is common to many other industries, it will play a prolific role in the transportation and distribution of the logs.
Thus we are potentially moving to an industry where automation will extend from the felling of trees to the loading of trucks and transportation with little or no human intervention.