E-Forest – Multi-agent framework for autonomous robotic platforms with electric propulsion for forest management

The E-Forest project aims to introduce a disruptive solution that will ensure the necessary activities for more effective forest management, mitigating the consequences of an aging population in rural areas. On the other hand, it will allow forestry operators to be exempted from monotonous, physically demanding and dangerous activities, seeking to respond to various challenges within the scope of biomass management and fire prevention/fighting. The proposed E-Forest solution focuses on the development of a mobile, all-terrain robot platform, completely electric and capable of carrying out multiple forestry tasks autonomously. Each vehicle will be built in a modular way, enabling the transport of specific tools and loads to perform different tasks, namely tools necessary for biomass management, creation and maintenance of fire lines, firefighting, forest surveillance, transport, search and rescue, and investigation activities. Additionally, this vehicle must be capable of automatically and autonomously docking with a local charging platform, equipped with an energy storage system, which will supply electrical energy generated from renewable sources (solar, wind, hydro and biomass). and will allow changing the battery pack of robotic platforms. The vehicle will be able to operate and circulate autonomously in unstructured forest environments, through the implementation of dynamic navigation methods, supported by data collected, in real time, by sensors integrated into the platform. The vehicle will have previously loaded detailed maps of the terrain and the missions it will have to perform, but it will also have the capacity to update the defined nominal path, with the aim of avoiding static and dynamic obstacles (trees, rocks, animals or people), using customized solutions. hoc and SLAM navigation algorithms. 

The planned research and development activities are of high interest for the entire national territory, but also for other regions of Europe, as well as for the American, Australian and African markets. The market dedicated to forest management and all activities linked to the forest and the exploitation of its resources reveals an estimated value of 670 million euros in Portugal, and 3 billion euros when analyzed at a global level, corresponding to 1.5% of the World GDP.

In 2019, Jacinto presented the Eco Camões: the first fully electric and unmanned firefighting vehicle in the world. Transmitting, therefore, a total of zero gaseous emissions and posing zero risk to the operator. It is, therefore, ideal for scenarios with a rarefied atmosphere.

This revolutionary vehicle will have around 300km of autonomy, which will be the equivalent of 4 hours of continuous pump operation.

As a way of responding to its autonomy capacity, it has 5 electric motors, 4 of which are used for traction and 1 for pump operation. One of the great advantages added to the Eco Camões is the possibility of it being completely controlled remotely up to 1km away, through its remote control panel. This same panel is capable of controlling the vehicle's traction (acceleration and braking); control your direction; view the surroundings of the operation through its cameras; and control all extinguishing equipment (2 monitors, water pump and foam pump).

João Ferreira


Versatile Vehicle

This is also a very versatile vehicle, as it is capable of operating in all possible firefighting scenarios, meaning it complies with all standards (EN1846 1-2-3 NFPA 414 ICAO). We therefore highlight its extinguishing agent capacity: 10,000L of water; 1 200L foam bottle; and 250kg of chemical powder. It should be noted that it contains Electromagnetic Compatibility Certification.

We have a project in hand that involves internationalization, that is, opening a branch of the company in another country
Jacinto Reis


The manager calculates that the initial investment could be around three million euros if the destination is in Europe; If it is in South America, the investment could be around five to six million euros, as it will be necessary to build an industrial unit from scratch to have access to financing and some benefits attributed to foreign investors. “We want to implement an assembly unit. We are not going to do what we do in Portugal, which is the entire vehicle from scratch. Yes, we will assemble some parties in these countries”, explains Jacinto Reis.