The Eura Nova team in Marseille, an R&D center and consulting company specializing in Big Data and Machine Learning.

A challenge for a greener port

At the Château Gombert Technopole in Marseille, Eura Nova’s talented team in Big Data and Machine Learning is inventing the algorithms of tomorrow. The Belgian company specialising in artificial intelligence, which set up in 2017, quickly found its feet with the help of Provence Promotion. The Aix-Marseille ecosystem is open to new technologies, firmly convinced of the promise of new data techniques. After being recognized by the Smartport Challenge, Eura Nova is answering the challenge issued by the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille (GPMM) to reduce port congestion with an optimized video analysis of road and rail traffic.

After a successful first edition, Smartport Challenge #2 is going ahead, in spite of Covid-19. The Port of Marseille Fos, the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolitan CCI and Aix-Marseille University at the initiative of this competition selected at the beginning of June 7 winners who will contribute to building the port of the future.

Eura Nova won over the judges and was chosen to help Marseille-Fos Port sort out its logistics flows. “Our candidacy was based on both our technical skills, our R&D vision and on market forces”, explained Juliette Spinnato, who handled the bid for Eura Nova. “Marseille-Fos Port is fully aware that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can add value by better organizing their activities. They have placed their trust in us and hopefully, we will be able to create a solution that could be used in other ports as well”.

Eura Nova’s expertise in maritime shipping was the deciding factor that won them the day. Their teams are also well-versed in co-innovation and in the art of teasing solutions out of well-defined problems.

With offices in Belgium, Marseille and Tunisia, the company has shown strong growth over the last 3 years. It has gone from 50 to 100 employees. The Marseille office is also expanding. With a dozen employees currently, they hope to double that number by the end of 2021 before moving into a larger space. After assisting Eura Nova with opening its new office more than three years ago, Provence Promotion will now work with the company to find a new office as part of its expansion.

Analyzing thousands of video images

The raw input for this project was captured video data. The port has 700 cameras, 300 of which film the road and rail networks used to transport goods. By analyzing some of this video data, Eura Nova and the Smart Port teams will be able to develop a solution that uses Machine Learning techniques.

The goal is to identify recurring choke points and the factors that lead to congestion in order to propose changes that will reduce vehicle wait times and improve the flow of traffic, this improving air quality.

Busy times, seasonality, vehicle volume, speed, etc. these are just some of the criteria that will be used and cross-referenced in the analysis. The initial work phase has already begun. An audit of the data showed that the techniques proposed by Eura Nova were promising and that the current reduction in traffic due to Covid-19 would not impact the quality of the analysis.

A 5-month co-innovation process

Two months will be needed to collect data and to run a predictive analysis. Four Eura Nova experts will work on the project, including a data scientist, a computer vision expert, a head of data, and a project manager.

Collective intelligence is at the heart of this process. Several group sessions will be organized to track project progress. Thecamp, which is an innovation campus that works towards a greener and more inclusive future will be an essential partner. Eura Nova will focus on design thinking support and UX design. The first demonstration model should be ready in October, to be presented on Smart Port Day.

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