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Meet APICA, the digital brain

Port of Antwerp is working on a digital representation of the port area. The Antwerp Port Information & Control Assistant (APICA) forms the brain of the application, while a 3D interface with real-time information is its face. This strategic project forms part of the Port of Antwerp digitisation and innovation policy.

APICA virtual port assistant

Port of Antwerp has a huge amount of digital data available to it. Frequently, however, this takes the form of separate systems with real-time information concerning the port area that is only available to a limited number of users. Now for the first time APICA combines all these systems into a virtual 3D model of the port, with up-to-date information on shipping movements, the operation of bridges and locks, camera images, weather conditions, water levels, personnel of various port services, air quality measurements, statistical data on the geographical situation in the port ... and much more besides.

"The APICA brain is currently made up of real-time information. Our objective is to add historical data," explain project members Wim Wouters and Steven Cruysberghs. “"This will enable us to carry out simulations so that we can forecast what will happen in particular situations. In contrast to artificial intelligence APICA will not make automatic decisions; rather, it is a decision-support mechanism that will enable us to manage the port more efficiently." A prototype of APICA is already up and running but is not yet being actively used. For the moment APICA serves as a test bed and as a source of inspiration. Over time Port of Antwerp will gradually determine for which port activities it can offer added value. Eventually the port community will also be able to make use of APICA and to add data to it.

Together for innovation

Port of Antwerp is teaming up with various other partners in the Capital of Things technology project. This project aims to make Antwerp a proving ground in which companies, researchers, citizens and policy makers can collaborate in setting up experiments for developing, testing and refining smart technologies, with the ultimate aim of making life in the city more pleasant and sustainable. The emphasis is on developments based on virtual reality, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.


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