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article imageRobots begin doing forest jobs that humans find boring

By Tim Sandle     May 12, 2019 in Technology
Sweden, home to vast acres of woodland, is developing robots to carry out many of the forest related tasks that humans find boring and repetitive, focused on monitoring and counting.
Swedish authorities have begun using robotics and artificial intelligence to undertake tasks related to the monitoring and upkeep of forests. These tasks are among those that humans find boring and, because of the dull and repetitive nature of the activities, are prone to errors. The use of automation also holds the promise of improved producvity and lower operating costs, relative to employing people to carry out the same tasks. These time savings are significant, given how important forests are to the Swedish economy and the sheer size of woodland: Sweden is covered by 53.1 percent forest.
The innovative automation comes from Swedish firm BillerudKorsnas AB. The first application applies to watching pulp cook. The technology firm, which specializes in renewable packaging, has used artificial intelligence to analyse thousands of diagrams and other data points to assess how long wood chips need to be cooked for in order to become pulp. This takes out a need for a human to watch the process and to need to remember to manually intervene at the appropriate point so that the optimal pulp is created, ready for paper manufacturing.
Company spokesperson Olle Steffner tells Bloomberg: "A machine can review large data quantities and find patterns in ways we humans just find too boring. Tasks such as monitoring processes or analyzing diagrams will hardly be missed by anybody. Our staff is needed for other things."
Other applications for robots and automation within the Swedish forest sector include gaining big data insigths into the health of trres; counting parasites as part of tree management; and helping to process documents.
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