Monday, July 24, 2023
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Södra Ädla is a new partner of Nordic Forestry Automation (NFA). The company develops next-generation operator support systems for forest machines based on sensor technology from autonomous vehicles and AI algorithms. The investment is done together with Sveaskog and Almi Invest Syd and comprises a total of SEK 10 million.
Thinning a forest involves constant decision-making about which, and how many, trees to harvest in order to best promote the various values of the forest. How the thinning operation is carried out is important for the long-term development of the forest, but is usually done manually and based on the experience of each individual operator. To make the thinning task easier, Nordic Forestry Automation (NFA) has developed an AI-based system to continuously support the operator in forest management decisions.
The company started in 2021 based on the founders’ research work on self-driving vehicles and AI algorithms. The founders met during their PhD studies through the national Swedish research initiative Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP). NFA recently received investment capital of SEK 10 million from Södra’s investment company Södra Ädla, Sveaskog and Almi Invest.
“Forest thinning is a craft that requires 100-percent focus and takes several years to master. The total cognitive load is comparable to that of a fighter pilot. Sensor-based operator support provides better conditions for operators and forest owners to promote forest values. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue developing this technology together with our new partners,” said Lars Svensson, CEO of NFA.
The new investment will enable NFA to further accelerate the pace of its development. In 2022 and 2023, the system was tested in pilot projects with SCA and Sveaskog and in the autumn of 2023, the company will start rolling out preseries products with Södra, Sveaskog and SCA.
“The investment and close collaboration with forest companies means that we can deploy the systems at an early stage and continue working closely with the operators. This is absolutely essential for building systems that can make a real difference out in the forest – for both operators and forest owners,” said Lars Svensson.