Forest harvesting with drones has emerged as a fresh breath of air from traditional methods as it provides a more efficient and environmentally friendly approach. Drones equipped with advanced imaging technology, such as LiDAR and multispectral cameras, quickly assess the health and density of forested areas, which helps foresters make informed decisions about which trees to harvest, ensuring sustainable practices and minimizing environmental impact. Drones can also navigate through challenging terrains and reach areas that may be difficult for humans or traditional machinery to access.
A prominent player in this space is AirForestry, which develops high-capacity drones for forest thinning. Their electric harvester drones makes it possible to thin and harvest forests from the air without damaging the ground or surrounding trees.
The challenge that AirForestry has experienced though is allowing the drones to communicate with the environment in remote forest areas where there is often no traditional coverage. This requires a stable, secure and robust connection with high capacity to handle, for example, video transmission and low latency with which control the drones.
To help AirForestry overcome this hurdle, Tele2 AB is working with Nokia to deliver a 5G private mobile 5G network to AirForestry to mobile control their 6-meter-wide electric drones that enable harvesting and thinning of the forest from the air. This solutiona facilitates quick deployment in areas lacking public coverage or alternative technologies.
“Our drones require efficient and reliable data transmission to be able to handle all the data they send and receive when harvesting and thinning forests,” said Olle Gelin, CEO and co-founder of Airforestry. “We looked at different options regarding connectivity, but in the end a mobile private 5G network was the one that suited our specific needs best.”
Tele2 is a telecommunications company that provides services such as mobile communication, fixed broadband and digital television throughout several European countries. Tele2 has been known for its focus on simplicity and customer-friendly approaches, aiming to make telecommunications services accessible to a broad audience.
Nokia, as most likely already know, is a prominent player in the development and deployment of 5G technology. Nokia’s 5G solutions encompass a comprehensive portfolio of hardware, software and services that promise increased data speeds, lower latency and enhanced connectivity to support a wide range of applications, from IoT devices to augmented reality.
Together, Nokia and Tele2 will deliver a 5G private wireless network to AirForestry in a pilot project that will run during 2024. Tele2 will deploy the solution, which enables a stable and private connection in remote forest areas and ensures higher speeds and availability.
Nokia will deliver Nokia Digital Automation Cloud. The Nokia platform provides private wireless connectivity and on-premise edge computing solutions to drive digitalization using private wireless connectivity and industrial edge solutions. The platform will provide reliable performance, high bandwidth and low latency to enable digital transformation for the forestry industry.
“Airforestry’s vision is to make forest harvesting more efficient and sustainable,” said Stefan Trampus, executive vice president B2B at Tele2. “5G and private wireless networks remove previous limitations and create unlimited business opportunities.”
And, if successful, the ambition is to introduce the solution into commercial forestry operations.
Edited by Greg Tavarez