FPInnovations says it has completed baseline tests for its off-highway truck platooning project, which aims to improve efficiency in Canada’s forestry sector while addressing the lack of qualified drivers.
The project received more than $1 million in funding from Société du Plan Nord and Natural Resources Canada and was supported by the city of Matagami, Que.
Research body FPInnovations says the objective is to accelerate adoption of off-highway automated vehicle technology to support northern communities and the forestry industry as they struggle to find drivers. The group is collaborating with Robotic Research Autonomous Industries (RRAI) to adapt its self-driving technology to the off-highway forestry sector. Challenges include adverse weather conditions and off-pavement roads without wireless coverage, the group says.
In the baseline testing program, FPInnovations exposed RRAI’s technology to a variety of road and environmental conditions typically encountered in Quebec forest and mining operations. Tests were conducted around Matagami, which supported the project.
Support for the project
“Matagami must redefine itself in the coming years, while an important part of its economic future is dependent on its strategic location for access and transshipment of raw materials,” says Matagami mayor René Dubé. “Developing the automated transportation sector is essential to ensure the competitiveness of the region and its companies. Our future depends on our ability to innovate, and Matagami is proud to be part of this solution.”
Other partners from the forestry and mining sectors also supported the project.
“The off-highway platooning technology represents a promising approach for businesses facing the challenges of transportation profitability and labor shortages,” says Stephane Renou, president and CEO, FPInnovations. “This collaborative project, which brings together many important partners, demonstrates the value of the technology and its high potential for businesses in remote areas from both an economical and environmental responsibility perspective.”
Gabe Sganga, head of commercial growth with RRAI, the company behind the self-driving technology, adds: “RRAI is honored to have our autonomous vehicle technology stack, AutoDrive, contribute to FPInnovations’ autonomous resource road pilot initiative to address the critical driver shortage in rural communities. The project reflects the future of autonomous commercial trucking by providing increased safety benefits with the ability to go to market today.”
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