The smart city sector is growing towards a methodology to evolve a territory
Using the capabilities of big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI, cities are creating new infrastructures to be more sustainable and resilient. In this regard, the relation between cities and ports is becoming increasingly direct, and the ports are investing to be part of the change. Here is where the smart port term starts, extending smart city developments to traditional port services for more efficient ecosystems.
As an economic drivers of cities, ports are one of Europe’s most valuable assets – with 2 million direct and indirect employees in 2018 – but the impact on the environment is significant. An example of this duality is cruise ships, which generate economic wealth for a given city but pollute five times more than road traffic. According to a report from Transport & Environment, in 2017, 203 cruise ships emitted 62kt of sulphur oxide, 155kt of nitrogen oxide, 10kt of particulate matter and more than 10mt of carbon dioxide.
HOPU, a company focused on the research and development of IoT and smart cities solutions – and a FIWARE Foundation member – empowers environmental innovation with AI, IoT and big data for environmental assessment and monitoring. HOPU simplifies available data in a unique indicator that contextualises, models and forecasts the environment for informed decision-making.
“Smart ports should monitor sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide – brought about by burning fossil fuels – and particulate matter [PM], which is harmful to respiratory systems, and noise that affects the quality of life of claiming areas. In addition, luminosity also has a significant effect on biodiversity and citizens’ health,” said Antonio Jara, CEO at HOPU.
Innovative platform driving fast-speed innovation
Based on this need, HOPU offers an innovative platform based on AI and predictive models for ports, using high-quality enriched data. It follows the FIWARE open source approach, using the CEF Context Broker as the smart port platform’s heart.
HOPU integrates external datasets about the port such as waves, water flows and water health with high quality data about gases, PM, noise and weather parameters (wind, UV radiation and luminosity). This tool offers a service to understand emissions derived from the activities carried out through a predictive system to support decision-making.
HOPU also provides high-quality data in real time to show existing emissions levels and carry out mitigation actions. HOPU manufactures IoT-based environmental monitoring devices called Smart Spots. These measure gases such as sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide in specific areas and in real time, detect toxic substances such as alcohol and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and detect PM to identify specific nanoparticles such as dust (PM10), pollens (PM10-PM40), pollutants (PM2.5) and viruses (<PM1).
Additionally, HOPU offers high-quality data-based devices thanks to its sophisticated laboratory, which calibrates and certifies every sold device. The accuracy of the sensor measurements is improved in the laboratory by reducing cross-sensitivity, fatigue compensation and machine-learning techniques.
A sea of opportunities, literally speaking
The relevance of HOPU in ports is growing. Nowadays, the company has devices in three ports that are working to establish indicators to evaluate their environmental impact. From the Pixel project, in collaboration with Prodevelop and the Polytechnical University of Valencia, HOPU has deployed Smart Spots in Thessaloniki, Monfalcone and Bordeaux ports.
New opportunities are on the horizon for HOPU in the smart ports sector. Recently, the company was crowned the winner of the FIWARE Zone Challenge for the Algeciras Port, where more than 25 devices will be deployed in 2021. They will collect real-time contextual data to be processed and modelled by an AI to understand the impact of the different actions carried out in the bay port of Algeciras in Spain. This project aims to reduce its environmental impact and improve the air quality of this territory.
The project includes developing a customised AI to treat the data collected by the sensors, which will be fed by the data sources already available to the Algeciras Bay Port Authority (Autoridad Portuaria de la Bahía de Algeciras) and the Junta de Andalucía (Spain). This enrichment of data will use external sources about light pollution, information on water in the harbour, data from the State Meteorological Agency (Agencia Estatal de Meteorología) and Copernicus, and other available resources.
In terms of next steps, HOPU is working with Cartagena Port Authority and Cartagena City Council to explore and define the AI and indicators that contribute to the relationship between the port and the metropolitan area, improving transparency and sustainability and reducing negative impacts.
by Andrea Gómez, PhD, CMO, and Antonio Jara, CEO, both at HOPU