Robotic Research, FPInnovations Partner on Off-Road Truck Platooning Effort
May 12, 2021
Robotic Research, which develops automated driving systems, has teamed up with Canadian non-profit research and development center FPInnovations to develop an off-road truck platooning system for the forest industry. The project will combine Robotic Research’s expertise in self-driving technology with FPInnovations’ knowledge of forestry and transportation to adapt the technology for off-highway environments.
The multi-year project aims to accelerate the adoption of off-road automated-vehicle (AV) technology to improve safety and address an acute labor shortage, improving the quality and viability of rural jobs where natural resources are located, the companies said. A successful project would look to benefit the Canadian forest industry, as well as other sectors such as mining resources and natural resources in Northern Canada.
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 the challenging Canadian conditions, such as four-season weather and operations on off-pavement roads, particularly for resource roads in continental and polar climates, the company said.
“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 of the project, truck convoys will be put through safety trials that mimic the routes from harvesting sites to sawmills, the companies said. Once the system provest o be secure, FPInnovations will run trials on actual resource roads, known to be challenging due to dust, sharp curves, and steep slopes.
“We are very pleased to partner with Robotic Research, whose leading-edge expertise in commercial on-road and defense transportation will greatly benefit Canada’s natural resource sectors, and help address an acute labor shortage,” said Stephane Renou, president and CEO of FPInnovations.
Earlier this year, Robotics Research teamed up with New Flyer to launch a self-driving transit bus. To learn more about the companies, visit either the Robotics Research or FPInnovations websites.