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March/April | Muedanyi Ramantswana

Future of planting with the Robotic Forester

Technology

Machinery

What is it?
Robotic Forester is a semi-autonomous forest regeneration system which will cover all the main regeneration operations such as: soil preparation, planting and early tending/cleaning. The Robotic Forester – is a forest regeneration system that will automate the first five years of the forest management. The Robotic Forester is based on Milrem’s modular robotic system architecture and provides the forestry industry with a more productive and cost-effective forest regeneration solution. It has been developed to cover all the main tasks in the first five years of forest regeneration, including:
    1. Mineralisation of the planting location (soil preparation)
    2. Planting operation
    3. Cleaning operation (weeding)

How it works?
The Robotic Forester concept includes two different functionalities integrated to the Multiscope UGV. One of them is the Multiscope Forester Planter and the other one is Multiscope Forester Brushcutter. The Multiscope Forester Planter prepares the soils using a spot mounding technique creating planting spots with the height of 20-30 cm depending on the soil. The trees are planted using a planting tube system like the excavator-based solutions. When the tree has been planted and the soil has been firmed up, the plant location is saved to the database. Its planting speed is around 5-6.5 hours per hectare at a planting density ranging from 1500 to 3000 plants per hectare.

When there is a need for early-tending operation, the Multiscope Forester Brushcutter already knows where the trees were planted and it can move autonomously between the planted trees and cut the unwanted vegetation to decrease the competition between planted trees and other vegetation. The machines will be monitored from the central control system and the machines are moving on the field semi-autonomously with human intervention rate around 20%.

Other interesting information
The system has many sensors and cameras on it and when it carries out the planting or cleaning operation, it will collect data about its surroundings. This precise data could be used to create digital twin of the forest, to increase the forest simulating and forest modelling precision or to train the machines for more efficient operations. The system will go through the testing phase this year.


Specifications
Speed                                      20 km/h
Length x Width x Height          240 x 200 x 115 cm
Maximum grade                      60%
Maximum side slope               30%
Ground clearance                   40-60 cm
Pull force                                 21 000 N
Run time hybrid                      10h ... 12h
Run time electric                     0,5h ... 1,5h
Line of sight control range      Up to 1,5 km
Power options Battery Pack,  Lead acid or LiOn
Power options                        Diesel engine & electric generator
Lights                                     LED, IR


For more information visit Milremrobotics