Wood Business

Industry News News
FPInnovations successfully completes truck platooning baseline tests

Innovative solution boosts economic efficiency of Northern Quebec projects

July 20, 2023  By CFI Staff

FPInnovations president and CEO Stéphane Renou. Photo: Annex Business Media.

FPInnovations has announced the completion of the baseline phase for its truck platooning tests.

“The off-highway platooning technology represents a promising approach for businesses facing the challenges of transportation profitability and labour shortages,” said FPInnovations president and CEO Stéphane Renou.

“This collaborative project, which brings together many important partners, demonstrates the value of the technology and its high potential for businesses in remote areas from both an economical and environmental responsibility perspective,” he added.

The baseline testing program was carried out thanks to a financial support of $576,000 from Société du Plan Nord and of $447,758 from Natural Resources Canada under the Forest Innovation Program, and was made possible thanks to the unwavering commitment of the city of Matagami.


“With this investment in FPInnovations, we can utilize new, automated vehicle technologies to help strengthen and support the sustainable development of our northern communities. The truck-platooning project will make it much safer for trucks to travel from harvesting sites to sawmills and will help revitalize many sustainable forestry operations in Northern Québec,” said Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson.

FPInnovations’ truck platooning project aims to accelerate the adoption of the off-highway, automated vehicle technology to support the sustainable development of Northern communities and to address the critical shortage of truck drivers.

The chronic lack of drivers severely compromises many forestry and mining operations in Northern Québec. In collaboration with RRAI (Robotic Research Autonomous Industries), a global leader in self-driving technology, FPInnovations works to adapt this technology to Canada’s particular conditions, such as seasonal changes and driving on off-pavement roads without wireless coverage, particularly for resource roads in continental and polar climates.

The baseline testing program was performed in specific regions of the Québec province, namely around Matagami, a key partner with a keen interest in developing innovative transportation solutions for its northern community.

“Matagami must redefine itself in the coming years, while an important part of its economic future is dependent on its strategic location for access and transshipment of raw materials, ” says René Dubé, mayor of Matagami.

“Developing the automated transportation sector is essential to ensure the competitiveness of the region and its companies. Our future depends on our ability to innovate, and Matagami is proud to be part of this solution.”

The trials also aim to bring together numerous businesses and remote communities to assess the positive impact of the platooning project on their environment.

Several partners are already involved in the project, such as Administration régionale Baie-James (ARBJ), which supports the project for the positive impact it could have on transportation costs and the scarcity of labour in the region. On its side, the Société de développement de la Baie-James (SDBJ) is showing its support for the project by making its facilities accessible to FPInnovations’ team and by allowing the baseline tests with RRAI’s AutoDrive platform to take place on the Billy-Diamond Road. Other stakeholders are also part of the deployment of the project, including Chantiers Chibougamau, Resolute Forest Products, Interfor, West Fraser, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, and Agnico Eagle, who have expressed interest in the platooning technology. FPInnovations will continue its efforts to attract other partners to support the project and make the technology available to future end-users.

“Our government is proud to have supported the testing of a technology that could help ensure the vitality of the Matagami region and many others in Quebec. Automation is important to the competitiveness of Quebec’s forestry and mining sectors,” said Maïté Blanchette Vézina, Minister of Natural Resources and Forests, and Minister responsible for the Société du Plan Nord.

“FPInnovations’ truck platooning project is an excellent example of the contribution made by the Société du Plan Nord, which actively participates, with all partners involved, in the sustainable socio-economic development of the northern territory,” she added.

Print this page


Stories continue below