If you thought it was scary encountering a loaded logging truck on a dusty forest road, imagine rounding a corner and encountering one without a driver?
That’s the vision of a forestry future that Swedish transportation technology upstart Einride AB hopes will soon become a reality. Einride’s T-log is set to be the world’s first autonomous electric logging truck.
The Stockholm-based company revealed its sleek futuristic-looking truck without a cab – after all, there is no driver – at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK. Einride boasts that their T-log will change the game in the forest sector, making logging transportation more sustainable. At T-log’s coming out party, Einride also touted the truck’s “increased loading capacity, greater flexibility, lower production costs, lower operating costs and optimized energy consumption.
Though T-log has yet to make the journey to the BC backwoods, its stats are impressive. According to the manufacturer, T-log can bounce along bumpy logging roads or smooth highways with a 160-tonne payload of logs for 200 km on a single battery charge.
Could this be the way of the future in the woods?
Spurred on by advantage tax rules that incentivize machinery over workers, the industry has already embraced automation. For example, mechanical feller bunchers, or tree harvesters, can do the work of 10 hand loggers. And tax rules brought in when Paul Martin was Prime Minster allow logging companies to write off the full cost over a few years even though the machine will last much longer.
So why not continue the trend of de-humanizing the forest industry by taking the drivers out of the seats of logging trucks and replacing them with a desk technician who can operate them from hundreds of kilometres away. That sounds like some scene from a Hollywood movie, but Einride claims it’s possible using their “Phantom Auto teleoperation safety technology.”
Or you could simply put someone behind the wheel of an electric logging truck. Just a thought.