A new timber truck without a crane cab and controlled with virtual reality is currently rolling in Götaland. It is the result of a development project between Södra and the suppliers Exte and Hiab to increase safety and at the same time strengthen efficiency. The project will be evaluated in 2023 and guide future investments.
Every day, Södra transports 50,000 tonnes of forest raw material to its own pulp mills and sawmills. This means over 1,000 heavy road transports from the members' forests, which is mostly round timber transported by truck.
Södra's ambition is a work environment free from injuries, and safety development is driven forward, among other things, with the help of new technology. Therefore, Södra has now, in collaboration with the suppliers Exte and Hiab, developed a timber truck based on technology that lives up to the ambition and excludes several risky moments, while increasing efficiency.
Södra's new timber truck is controlled by VR
The biggest change in the new log truck: The crane cabin is missing and has been replaced by a camera. The camera is connected to virtual reality, VR, which allows the driver to control the crane using VR glasses. The driver does not have to leave his truck cab, but can instead use the VR technology for a good overview and at the same time eliminate risky moments in everyday work.
In addition to this, the timber truck has been equipped with remote release of the lashing equipment as well as more benches and supports than on a conventional timber truck. This makes the loading work faster, the load anchoring more secure and increases the possibilities of getting more wood in each load.
- One of Södra's goals is to drive development forward regarding technology, working methods and, not least, safety. This new crew is an example of that. It combines all the parts and it will be very interesting to follow the project. After a while, we hope to be able to go around to show off and convey experiences to both internal and external driver colleagues, says Joel Persson, Head of Forestry Technology at Södra.
Södra's VR timber truck is being tested until 2024
The new truck is now being driven together with other crews and the various project parts will be continuously evaluated until 2024, where one of the goals is to expand the initiative. The knowledge and experience from the project will help to guide which investments are made in Södra's own timber trucks in the future, but also to drive the technical development of the haulage companies that cooperate with Södra, where there are currently around 300 timber trucks.
- The team now runs roundwood on the west coast with the industry in Värö as the final destination. As we gain experience and hypotheses are confirmed, we will use the new technology in future purchases, says Joel, highlighting the new timber truck technology as a solution to a major challenge:
- The transport industry is in great need of new drivers. Only half as many people are trained as are needed to cover the need. We need to offer the drivers for the forest transports a safe and secure workplace and access to new technology that facilitates the work. Therefore, I am glad that we have taken this initiative and am excited to follow it.