“Modern harvesters use GPS tracking and digital maps to define their precise location. Using the work instructions on the screen of the harvester, the operator can ensure that everything important has been taken into account in the forest and that job is done as agreed with the forest owner,” says Laitinen.
Towards precision forestry
The advantage of data from harvesters is that it is efficiently gathered during forest work. The long-term trend is that separate field trips are minimised and the necessary information is either gathered through remote sensing or automatically during operations.
“The significance of harvesters as gatherers of forest data is growing – they are taking us towards precision forestry. Working becomes more efficient and productivity increases when harvesters guide their operators. With better baseline data, the quality of work and planning improves when operators receive precise instructions on what to fell,” says Laitinen.
In the future, harvesters will be able to guide operators in planning logging tracks, i.e. the routes to be driven in the forest. Harvesters will also give instructions on how the shape and slope of the terrain and streams should be taken into account.
These kinds of pilot projects are already underway. In the future, forest automation will further ease the work of operators. Operators will be able to concentrate on critical decisions, i.e. what affects the environment and the upgrade value of the raw material, and what improves productivity,” says Laitinen.
The goal is to also use the data from the harvester to update forest asset data so that the data from the harvester is automatically submitted to the forest asset database.