At its last Board meeting, the Södra Foundation for Research, Development and Education decided to grant funding of SEK 2.5 million ($309,023) to support new research projects, as the company said in the press release received by Lesprom Network.
"Finding solutions for tomorrow's forestry and forest industry is a very serious matter for us. Stable funding for long-term research paves the way for our success in this area," said Laila Rogestedt, Senior Vice President of Innovation and New Business at Södra, and Board member of the Foundation.
One of the projects that received funding from the Research Foundation is focused on driverless vehicles. The project will evaluate the technical, safety and financial conditions for introducing autonomous forklifts for the handling of timber packages at sawmills.
"Research into autonomous vehicles is highly topical and I see major potential in the forest industry for using this kind of technology to handle timber packages," commented Erik Johansson, researcher at the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden in Skellefteå.
He continued: "The idea is that autonomous timber forklifts will perform simple tasks totally automatically, while more complex tasks are handled by an experienced operator sitting in a control room. This will reduce salary costs because a forklift operator will be able to handle several forklifts simultaneously, and it could also reduce the risk of injury, since fewer people are needed in and around the forklifts."
The mission of the Södra Foundation for Research, Development and Education is to promote research and education of significance to forestry, and forest industry operations, in Southern Sweden.
Source : lesprom.com