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Using data for a better tomorrow

Can we use data to make the transportation process more sustainable and smart? Yes! We have proved it with the project for SAS® Nordic Hackathon. According to the Transport Global Market Report 2020-30: Covid 19 Impact and Recovery, even though the market is experiencing an economic slowdown, the transportation & logistics market is expected to recover relatively fast and grow at a CAGR of 9% from 2021 and reach $7,500.8 billion in 2023.

This project is extremely important to us since it may significantly contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal #13, helping to mitigate climate change and decrease CO2 emissions. We do believe this case will become the inspiration for many EU companies in the transportation and logistics sectors to review the way they consume their resources and make each stage of their business process greener.

In this case study, the inspirator is El-Kretsen. Being a nonprofit organization acting as one of Sweden’s official systems for collecting electric and electronic equipment waste, EI-Kresten wanted to find the most efficient way to go greener at each stage of its process (transportation from a collection point up to the recycling center) and decrease their carbon footprint.

Challenges of the project

The bigger the challenge, the greater is opportunity. So far, it has been calculated that up to 3,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions are released annually during the transportation of e-waste. To minimize the footprint, EI-Kresten needed the right tools like route planning software. Until now, the biggest problem in the industry was manual transportation processes management. That’s why waste collection routes were not optimal, causing unwise fuel consumption and distance planning of the route from A to B points.

Our tech team at the SAS® Nordic Hackathon suggested developing a smart solution based on a route optimization algorithm. The solution was designed to build smart routes of e-waste transportation using real-time data about the readiness of collection points and predict route efficiency, as well as their impact on CO2 emissions.

Sigma Technology’s Role & Responsibility

The Sigma Technology team along with the Chalmers Industriteknik and El-Kretsen, has developed the idea of the route optimization application helping decrease all the manual processes and human intervention in route building. So full automation was the end goal of this event. 

The technologies used for developing the route planning tool:

  1. SAS® Viya
  2. SAS® Visual Analytics
  3. Microsoft Azure
  4. Python open source

The developed solution was based on the Python open source libraries, and all of these were hosted in the MS Azure cloud to provide reliable application infrastructure and easy further management.

Project Phases

  • 01

    Data analysis and modeling

  • 02

    Route optimization

  • 03

    Formatting / Manipulating route data

  • 04

    Route mapping for visualization

First, we have imported all the required datasets to SAS® Viya to compare the routes and visualize the output. The output was transferred to the map using GPS coordinates of all collection points ready for pick-up, and then it was used for optimal route planning.

By using the SAS® Viya solution, we have created two dashboards: a map itself and the progress report. The map indicated the current performance and predictions to enable smarter decisions. The progress report with simple charts and graphs shows how the route optimization algorithm helps decrease CO2 emissions.

 

Success of the project

 This hackathon project helped to develop a technically excellent solution involving experience in algorithm development and Business Intelligence to identify the best possible route for e-waste transportation to the recycling centers.

Once this algorithm is integrated into the logistic chain, it is forecasted to mitigate 836 tonnes of CO2 emissions and save up to 329.000 liters of fuel a year.

The main achievements of this hackathon are that the developed route optimization algorithm can help any transportation company to change how they consume their resources, i.e. cut distances, save costs and time, and, of course, decrease its CO2 footprint for a better tomorrow.

Watch our video about this project:

author

ROBERT ÅBERG

President at Sigma Technology Insight Solutions