FPInnovations announces the successful completion of the baseline tests of the truck platooning project

An innovative solution to enhance economic efficiency of projects in Northern Québec

MONTRÉAL, July 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FPInnovations, a private not-for-profit organization specializing in the creation of solutions that support the global competitiveness of the Canadian sector, announces the completion of the baseline phase for its truck platooning tests. 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.

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, which represented the first step in achieving this goal, involved exposing RRAI’s AutoDrive autonomous software system to a variety of road and environmental conditions typically encountered in Québec forest and mining operations. Analysis and reporting of the captured summer and winter test conditions, which allowed for identifying specific areas requiring technological improvements, were completed in March 2023. These improvements could be applied in subsequent development phases of the platooning technology.

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.


The off-highway platooning technology represents a promising approach for businesses facing the challenges of transportation profitability and labour shortages. 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.
Stéphane Renou, President and Chief Executive Officer, FPInnovations

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. 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.
Maïté Blanchette Vézina, Minister of Natural Resources and Forests and Minister responsible for the Société du Plan Nord

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.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources

RRAI is honored to have our autonomous vehicle technology stack, AutoDrive, contribute to FPInnovations' autonomous resource road pilot initiative to address the critical driver shortage in rural communities. The project reflects the future of autonomous commercial trucking by providing increased safety benefits with the ability to go to market today.
Gabe Sganga, Head of commercial growth, RRAI

About FPInnovations
FPInnovations is a private not-for-profit research and development centre with professional researchers who create solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness. It is ideally positioned to perform state-of-the-art research, develop advanced technologies, and deliver innovative solutions to complex problems for every area of the sector’s value chain, from forest operations to consumer and industrial products. Its R&D laboratories are located in Quebec City, Montreal, and Vancouver, and it has technology-transfer offices across Canada.

Geneviève Mathieu
Media Relations, FPInnovations
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