Home > Research > Research Results > Research Results 2017 > Remote operations and automatic drive function make a forwarder’s work more convenient

Update:August 1, 2017

Main content starts here.

Remote operations and automatic drive function make a forwarder’s work more convenient


Article title

Development of operational support technology of a forwarder by remote control and automated travelling function

Author (affiliation)

Masahiro Mozuna (a), Hirokazu Yamaguchi (a), Takayuki Ito (a), Hidenori Suzuki (a) , Osamu Chisaka (b), Ayanobu Takasaki (b), Kanemitsu Kusano (c), Shigeo Kitahara (d) 

 (a) Department of Forest Engineering, FFPRI.

 (b) IHI Construction Machinery Ltd.

 (c) JMU Defense Systems Co., Ltd.

 (d) Kumagai Gumi Co., Ltd.

Publication Journal

Bulletin of FFPRI, 15(4)(No.440): 91-102, December 2016

Content introduction

When a forwarder, a loading-type machine used for logging, is driven and operated, the vibration and noise from the vehicle are severe; this places a significant burden on the driver over a long period of time. Moreover, as guard rails are not present along the strip road, the machine may depart from the road and overturn; this introduces a risk for a major disaster.

In order to reduce the labor burden on the driver of a forwarder in this type of work environment, technology has been developed to enable remote control of all driving and other operations from a comfortable indoor location, i.e., a driver would not be needed on-board the forwarder. Furthermore, by equipping the forwarder with an automatic-travel function, the need to have a driver present for the driving operations is also eliminated. However, as the automatic-travel function relies on a global navigation satellite system (GNSS), the automatic-travel function can only be used in locations wherein the positioning precision via GNSS can be sufficiently ensured. Thus, the use of this function is limited to locations wherein the positioning error is large such as in forests; in these locations, the forwarder is switched to remote operations and is remotely controlled by a driver.

Demonstration tests were performed using the developed forwarder. It was found that the operational efficiency decreased by about 50% when using remote operations compared with when operations were conducted with a driver on-board. Furthermore, elements such as comfort and safety were highly rated by the test subjects. However, in automatic-travel tests, the control error was found to be equal to or greater than half the vehicle width. Therefore, it was concluded that the strip road must be wide. If the necessary width can be implemented, automatic travel can be performed at the same speed as when the machine was operated by an on-board driver.

Based on these results, a forwarder equipped with remote-operation capabilities and an automatic-travel function effectively reduces the burden on the driver. Thus, the introduction of these functions would be beneficial to logging operations.


Photo: Forwarder equipped with remote-operation capabilities and
Photo. Forwarder equipped with remote-operation capabilities and an automatic-travel function.