The Highland Food and Drink Innovation Network

Programmer in a wheelchair

Supported through The Data Lab, RGU applied its artificial intelligence expertise to design a new logistics solution for Food & Drink producers in the highlands and islands.


Food and Drink producers in the Highlands and Islands often face demanding logistics requirements and challenging geographical conditions. These hurdles can make it more difficult and less cost effective to get their products to market and to receive vital supplies and raw materials.


To address this, the Smart Data Technologies team at Robert Gordon University and Celerum Ltd (an RGU spin-out company) worked with the Highland Food and Drink Innovation Network to apply artificial intelligence (AI) and nature-inspired computing to the logistical challenges faced by both logistics service providers and Food & Drink manufacturers operating in the highlands and islands region. The dynamic solution involved in route planning, vehicle utilisation and data optimisation and this required an AI powered solution. Through the piolet project, proof of concept was established and further opportunities for testing and demonstration of the model are now being explored.


Applying models from the Smart Data Technologies team at RGU to the Highland Food and Drink Innovation Network’s data identified the potential for significant economic benefits for both producers and logistics service providers. Results indicate improved vehicle utilisation, which may result in carbon emission reductions of 20-40% as well as increased resilience in the supply chain. Feedback from the study also indicated demand for the introduction of an open logistics software platform. This platform will allow producers and logistics service providers to place and receive orders in real time and use AI to plan optimised routes and vehicle utilisation based on the AI solutions tested in the pilot.

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