Autonomous broadleaf regeneration

In Sweden, active forest regeneration is today conducted on pine and spruce where there exist several solutions for mechanized site preparation by means of mounding and disc trenching. Although there exist solutions for mechanized planting of pine and spruce seedlings, the main part is due to costs still planted manually. Initiatives are ongoing to further improve the sustainability of forest regeneration through automation of site preparation and planting. By removing the human operator from the forest vehicle, the prerequisites are significantly changed leading to new opportunities for sustainable forestry vehicle concepts.

With humans operating on-board forestry vehicles, the trend has been to increase the vehicle size to improve productivity resulting in challenges such as ground damage, drivability, social acceptance etc. With automation, more and smaller vehicles could instead be used to collaboratively work 24/7 and thus improve the environmental impact and simultaneously the social acceptance and productivity. 

When it comes to broadleaf trees very little research exist on mechanized forest regeneration and even less on autonomous site preparation and planting of seedlings. Hence, the objective in this project will be to develop and demonstrate a mechanized solution for automated regeneration of broadleaf trees with the aim to significantly improve the sustainability of such operations. The project will be conducted in collaboration with academic, industrial and public partners where a PhD student will do the main part of the research. 

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