Mercabarna: supply of fresh food to a city

Mercabarna (MrB) is a food city that operates 24 hours a day with the aim of guaranteeing the supply of fresh food to the public. The facility houses 600 companies specialising in the distribution, preparation, importing and exporting of fresh and frozen products. 

Under this environment, the main challenge of Mercabarna is to improve the management of the fresh and frozen products, and in general freight exchange, from the point of view of the product value chain considering the logistics, especially focusing inside Mercabarna’s premises, but also considering information and decision-making indicators coming from outside. The pilot has two goals, which are divided into two use cases: 

Last mile delivery optimization

More than 7,000 small trucks leave MB’s facilities every day and go to the city and its premises for the distribution of goods. An intelligent management and coordination of last-mile delivery routes would imply an efficient delivery system, minimizing vehicle movements and reducing goods loss. To this end, a decentralized system will be developed to track delivery vehicles’ localization and destinations (city areas), and propose optimal delivery routes taking into account additional information such as DUM areas mid- and short-term usage, or real-time traffic.

Intra-logistics operations improvement

MrB is a small living city, where many vehicles of all types (from big trucks to vans, cars or forklifts) work together to carry on MrB’s customers’ operations. An effective management of internal traffic is of utmost importance to enable smooth operations and prevent jams or bottlenecks that would delay the lifecycle of the entire MrB. With this objective, a real-time traffic monitoring system for intra-logistics operations will be developed to collect information from MrB vehicles. On top of this system, a Decision Support System will provide recommendations for optimal roads management, and a what-if tool will enable the ability to test and validate different scenarios

The pilot will be demonstrated through a Digital Twin approach under the meta-OS of NebulOuS, which will enable efficient and decentralized management. The digital twin approach will comprise (i) real-time management and distribution of perishable food,  (ii) predictive analytics on intra-logistics operations,  (iii) AI-driven recommendations for goods delivery routes, and (iv) AI-driven recommendations for internal vehicle traffic operation. Moreover, the pilot will enable MrB to become not only the infrastructure provider it is, but also a data-driven recommendation services provider for its customers and infrastructure operators. The main technologies that will be utilised are:  (i) IoT/Edge monitoring of vehicles, assets and freights (considering the potential of a 5G network) and decision-making;  (ii) existing mechanisms and communications infrastructure in MrB’s premises (e.g. wifi network);  (iii) Optimization techniques on the internal infrastructures and external delivery routes; (iv) Predictive analytics considering traffic or DUM areas usage; (v) Computer Vision, AL, ML and Federated Learning; and (vi) data privacy and security. 

Operation & Deployment of Use Case: We will operate and deploy a smart edge-cloud platform that will act as a digital twin for the implementation of “Efficient and decentralized management” by considering (i) Sensors and monitoring tools, to capture real-time information about the main assets of MrB, such as vehicles (ii) Data collection and sharing, for data sharing on the IoT/Edge information coming from vehicles, goods and other MrB assets, (iii) Emulation of scenarios using 5G Testbed. Machine learning and AI will be used to assess efficient management through the incorporation of 5G technology in the data/models exchange between all physical and digital assets and (iv) Cloud Analytics under federated learning, to make an efficient use of the resources and the infrastructure.

Main Partners Supporting the Use Case:  

EUT (Spain, RTD): Technology provider.  

MrB (Spain, Industry): end user. 

TID (Spain, Industry): Technology and private edge computing testbed provider

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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