The UAV logger as a potential alternative for timber transportation in the Canadian boreal forest
The Canadian boreal forest has substantial natural resources located in remote isolated areas that are of economic interest. Requirements of the log extraction operation are to minimize impact on the ecosystem and its inhabitants. Transportation is one of the largest direct costs of forestry operations and many potential harvest areas are left untouched because of the high costs to build and maintain logging roads and water crossings. Alternatives to the traditional surface transportation system could benefit the industry, the residents and the ecosystem. The economics of a Lighter-Than-Air UAV Logger concept for log transportation is compared to the current truck and road build option using a cost comparison model and three harvest area case studies. At the engineered price estimate of $4.1 million, the results suggest that the UAV Logger is an uneconomic transportation alternative in the boreal forest at current product prices and supply availability. Conditions that favour the UAV Logger as a competitive economic alternative include small harvest volumes and high road build costs.
airship, transportation, forestry, UAV, economics