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Towards the connected ports of the future

The UPV is coordinating an international project that will help optimise the logistics of port facilities

[ 08/03/2021 ]

The Universitat Politècnica de València is leading INGENIOUS IoT, an international project that plans to use 5G technologies and combine them with other technological solutions such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and blockchain in order to improve logistics in port facilities, and thus move towards the "connected ports of the future".

"INGENIOUS IoT will connect sensors, cameras, robots, freight containers, trucks, ships, machinery... and all the devices will be able to interact with each other; the project lays the foundations for the connected ports of the future," explains its coordinator, UPV professor and iTEAM institute researcher David Gómez Barquero.

The UPV researcher points out that 5G for the Internet of Things makes it possible not only to transmit data at very high speeds, but also to do transmissions with very low latency or response time, and massive transmissions to sensors as well. Additionally, artificial intelligence and blockchain allow us to exploit the resulting huge amount of data to optimise logistics processes and improve their traceability.

The Port of València, the main location of the tests

The main location of this project is the Port of València, where different pilot tests will be carried out. The Valenciaport Foundation and Cosco Shipping Lines (Spain) are also participating in the project, and Telefónica, Nokia, Asti Mobile Robotics, Neurodigital and Fivecomm complete the Spanish consortium.

"The IoT developed in INGENIOUS will facilitate the work of port operators, who will be able to control the transport of containers within the terminals through robots connected with 5G technology and an immersive solution combining virtual reality and augmented reality with the sense of touch," explains José Luis Cárcel, a specialist in digital transformation at the Valenciaport Foundation.

Another challenge posed by INGENIOUS IoT is the continuous monitoring of the transport conditions of goods throughout their journey, from origin to destination, using neuromorphic sensors as well as devices for their satellite localisation.

"In this case, we will carry out a multimodal freight transport test involving a maritime route between the Port of València and the port of Piraeus in Greece. Throughout the journey, data about the state of the container, such as geolocation, temperature, humidity, etc., will be obtained practically in real time. In addition, a series of alarms will be set to warn us of possible accidents or unwanted events happening to the container, such as knocks or unplanned door openings," explains Pedro Pérez, BPS and Quality Assistant at Cosco Shipping Lines Spain.

The project will also apply artificial intelligence techniques to predict both the arrival and departure of cargo ships, and to monitor and optimise the entry and circulation of trucks through port facilities as well. Similarly, INGENIOUS IoT will explore interoperability between different blockchain solutions in order to improve the traceability of cargo and of events taking place in different port-logistic processes.

"In the future, freight containers and means of transport will be equipped with sensors. By applying artificial intelligence techniques, we will be able to process all the information in real time, thus optimising the stay of ships and trucks in ports by reducing the loading and unloading times of goods as far as possible," explains Joan Meseguer, a specialist in digital transformation at the Valenciaport Foundation.

The project, which involves 21 partners, has a budget of 8 million euros, financed by the Horizon2020 programme of the European Union. It began last October, and will end in mid-2023.

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