SENATOR platform reaches technological maturity and enters the most operational phase of pilots

Dublin will serve as one of two pilot sites, ensuring project replicability and sustainability across various urban policy frameworks. Photo credit: Archie McNicol
  • The route optimization algorithm is already operational, with the user interface in an advanced stage of design

The European project SENATOR, led by Correos, has achieved the technological maturity that will allow it to start the most operational phase of pilots in 2024 and test the operation of its advanced technology, based on artificial intelligence, for better urban distribution of goods in the European cities of Zaragoza and Dublin.

The route optimization algorithm, which constitutes the heart of the SENATOR platform, is currently operational, as well as most of the visuals of the interface where users are shown the information generated by the algorithm.

This advancement is the result of joint work by the Technological Institute of Deusto (DeustoTech) and the company DOTGIS, two of the members of the European consortium participating in this project aimed at operating more efficiently and sustainably in the last mile.

The level of technological maturity achieved by the project, which has been funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 program, makes it possible to progress towards the final phase of pilots where the operation of the SENATOR platform will be tested in various simulations and controlled tests of the daily distribution operations in the two Urban Living Labs, in Dublin and Zaragoza.

“This advance not only represents a significant achievement in the development of SENATOR technology, but also an essential step towards the practical implementation of optimization in urban goods distribution,” points out Ángela Núñez, European sustainability project manager at Correos and SENATOR project coordinator.

An integrated solution for urban logistics

The incorporation of this algorithm into the platform would distinguish SENATOR, if it reaches the market, as the most comprehensive current solution in urban logistics. The goal is for the tool not only to facilitate strategic decision-making, but also to provide participating partners with unprecedented control over their logistics operations.

In contrast to other existing tools, “SENATOR offers an unprecedented integration of various functionalities in a single platform, which simplifies logistics management and maximizes operational efficiency,” explains M.ª Pilar Elejoste, technical director at DeustoTech.

Another aspect to highlight is the algorithm’s ability to operate in real-time. In addition to proposing the most suitable routes each day based on the parameterization performed at the beginning of the day, adjusting to the variables entered by the operator, it enables immediate adjustments to adapt to unforeseen changes and dynamically improve efficiency in the last mile.

On the other hand, the interface or Dashboard, one of the final elements of the technological platform, is in a very advanced stage of design, finalizing the last visuals of the tool. “The information generated by the algorithm will be presented comprehensibly through an intuitive and comprehensive interface,” adds Elejoste, thus allowing real-time management of goods distribution.

Overcoming barriers in pursuit of innovation

The development of this advanced technology poses a series of significant technical and technological challenges, which have resulted in some project milestones experiencing unavoidable delays. Thanks to continuous effort, SENATOR successfully addresses some of these major challenges, such as the complexity of collaborating among competing companies in pursuit of innovation.

Núñez highlights another crucial challenge: “Innovation, especially in digitalization, is always a challenge, especially when facing urban goods distribution from such a disruptive perspective as in SENATOR, but great challenges prepare us for the future. Working on these projects is always an opportunity and an exciting challenge.”

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