This allows them to provide services for a variety of purposes.
Currently, harvesters gather large amounts of data for forestry needs, but they could do it for others, too. The machine could make available many new types of data from forests. Sensors attached to harvesters already gather data on distances, temperatures, humidity, air pressure, velocity, light, soil conditions, geography and location, as well as the amount and water content of snow. A harvester could also function as the ground base of a drone. Computer vision is developing fast and also offers new possibilities for drones. Drones can be programmed to follow animate or inanimate objects, they are able to fly along a pre-set path, avoiding obstacles and then return to their path. They can reach a speed of 50 km/h and are able to fly up to 7 km (4.3 mi) without re-charging.
A drone could estimate the amount of timber in a forest and the amount of smaller timber for pulp production. It could estimate the quality of the forest and, for example, check the condition of powerlines. It can identify animal species and count the number of individuals per species. It can look for spruces suitable for Christmas trees, find mushrooms and berries and tell whether they are good for picking – for it can tell the difference between ripe and unripe berries even if shaded by leaves.
When a harvester is transported into the forest, the same lorry could bring in a base station for broadband connections and an aggregate. This would provide a power source and broadband to the people living nearby. At the moment, image processing software is able to identify individuals by their faces in a crowd, as well as their moods – and even different foods and their components on a plate. 360-degree cameras could be installed in forest machinery to monitor, for example, the condition of the forest and the trees spared during logging. Machine vision can tell whether the operator is having a break, repairing the machine or back in his seat. Or whether he, or she, is in a good mood.
The author of the article is Hannes Mäntyranta. Source