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The Final Word by Helen Roush

It was recently announced that Stora Enso is testing an autonomous truck at their mill in Uimaharju, Eastern Finland.

According to the announcement, "as industries strive towards better efficiency, safety and sustainability, the automatization of routine transports becomes beneficial. Stora Enso's pulp mill in Uimaharju has been modernized recently, and Stora Enso invests heavily into digitalization. For example, drones are utilized in timber measurements. Now they are also testing an autonomous truck for a 1.4 km woodchip transport route inside the mill area."

"The test use of an autonomous truck will give us more insight into the environmental and safety benefits and cost savings the new kind of vehicle can bring to our mill transports," says Antti Suvinen, Head of Harvesting Operations at Stora Enso Wood Supply Finland . "In the future, the driver may operate the vehicle from a remote-control room, which improves ergonomics and safety."

Transport Topics also recently announced that technology company, Outrider, has closed out an early stage of financing with $53 million to automate truck yards. In the article, it states that "the Outrider system is designed to automate all major aspects of yard operations, with the goal of making them more efficient, safer and sustainable. That includes moving trailers around the yard, hitching trailers, connecting trailer brake lines and monitoring trailer locations."

The article further states that "Outrider is testing its system with five pilot customers including pulp and paper company Georgia-Pacific."

It appears the much talked about era of autonomous trucks in our industry may be nearing. Stay tuned.

Helen Roush is Executive Vice President of Paperitalo Publications.


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