Grand Final of the "Play Your Airport" European Innovation Contest season 3 to imagine the cargo activities of tomorrow

For the third edition of its "Play Your Airport" European innovation challenge, Groupe ADP rewarded the most innovative projects in the field of air cargo. Held on 6 February, the grand final of the competition brought together nine competing teams and three winners were chosen by a jury of experts.

After "the airport of tomorrow" and the "airport city", the third season of the "Play Your Airport" innovation competition focused on air freight. The entire cargo community of Paris airports, in particular Paris-Charles de Gaulle, as well as students and European startups took part in the competition.
There were 40 projects, 9 finalists and 3 winners during this edition. The subjects most discussed were the dematerialisation of information and documents, improving the safety of operations, the traceability of equipment and goods, and reducing the time it takes to transport goods.

Unique infrastructures for cargo at Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Air cargo is inseparable from the economic equilibrium of a major airport and Paris-Charles de Gaulle will be the European leader in this activity in 2019. The airport is home to one of the largest "cargo cities" in Europe, covering 300 hectares and 3 million sq.m of buildings, with several major names in cargo present, including airlines (Air France Cargo, Qatar Cargo, Emirates Sky Cargo, Korean Air Cargo, etc.), forwarding agents (Bolloré Logistics, DB Schenker, Kuehne+Nagel, Panalpina, etc.) and express carriers (FedEx, La Poste, DHL, UPS, etc.). In total, approximately 40,000 jobs are directly and indirectly linked to cargo activity at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Operating 24/7 day in a configuration that optimises the speed of goods transit (between public and restricted areas), the cargo city at Paris-Charles de Gaulle has 80 aircraft parking stands entirely dedicated to cargo and a handling capacity currently estimated at 3.6 million tonnes of freight per year, which should eventually reach 5 million tonnes, thanks to the dynamism of international traffic, as well as the many real estate projects underway and to come.

Innovation is at the heart of Groupe ADP's cargo strategy. As coordinator and facilitator of the cargo community, ADP encourages numerous initiatives to facilitate cargo handling operations. The projects selected in the final round were selected for their feasibility, their added value for the cargo community, but also for their ability to be implemented quickly and their innovative or pragmatic nature. Composed of experts from Groupe ADP and other companies and organisations (Direction Interrégionale des Douanes et des Droits Indirects, Air France Cargo, Bolloré Logistics, Crystal Group, DB Schenker, Qatar Cargo and WFS), the jury selected the winner for each of the three categories in competition:
  • from projects submitted by employees of Cargo activities at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and employees of Groupe ADP, Community, which proposed a system for pooling couriers by means of connected shuttles shared by several stakeholders, making it possible to reduce road traffic and optimise financial resources.
  • from the student projects, Cargo Continuous Improvement, based on Lean Manufacturing, aiming to continuously improve the working environment of cargo employees, notably by providing them with a number of tools (information board, suggestion box, etc.).
  • from the startups projects, Orok, which designs electric, autonomous and omnidirectional vehicles to transport goods in airside areas. The challenge here is to reduce the risk of accidents, optimise the management of ground space and get cargo to the aircraft as quickly as possible.
Each winner received a prize: travel vouchers worth 500 to 4,000 euros per person for the student team and Groupe ADP employees; funding and support for a prototype worth 22,000 euros for Orok.

On this occasion, Édouard Mathieu, Director of Development at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, declared: "we want to give a new collective impetus to the cargo community at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Europe's leading airport in terms of tonnage. The innovative solutions presented during this Play Your Airport challenge contribute to the competitiveness and attractiveness of the cargo industry, which is particularly value-creating and essential to the attractiveness of the Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub. The winners' ideas will be tested and, in the event of conclusive results, will then be rolled out at our Paris airports."

Through the proposed projects, major trends shaping tomorrow's cargo operations have emerged:
  • pallet robots;
  • process improvement through data processing and blockchain technology;
  • connected eyewear and devices;
  • intelligent sensors and the application of management and anticipation of flows;
  • predictive maintenance;
  • UAVs.

A look back at the projects from the previous seasons of "Play Your Airport"
Initiatives currently in the testing or development phase include:
  • Earthport, which aims to develop a bio-climatic terminal thanks to an eco-design logic from the structure to the furnishings. This new terminal concept will be implemented at Paris-Orly by 2021 and will serve as an inspiration for new infrastructures, notably on the future project for terminal 4 at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
  • the project for a space dedicated to innovation at Paris-Orly, which will be commissioned in early 2021. This space will be complementary to the Innovation Hub, which is located at Groupe ADP's headquarters in Roissypole, at the heart of Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. It will integrate the specific features of the areas surrounding Paris-Orly to make the airport a real innovation machine.
  • the GONE project, developed by one of Groupe ADP's employees, which consists of an application designed to provide a decision-making tool for all stakeholders in the airport chain. This employee has been seconded, in an unprecedented way, within one of the partner startups, INNOV'ATM, in order to accelerate the marketing of their application.
  • Estran, which is an original and friendly place to improve the living environment of users in the Roissypole district of Paris-Charles de Gaulle. This location will be structured around a culinary incubator and will draw on the talents of the surrounding areas, while working with stakeholders in urban policy and economic integration.
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