Skip to main content


Edge AI Paves the Way to Seaport Management

smart city solutions

With the majority of international trade goods shipped by sea, ports are vital engines of business and economic growth. But as populations surge, emerging economies develop, and the volume of global trade increases, seaports face serious challenges.

“Port authorities today are struggling to manage vehicle traffic in and around ports, leading to inefficiency and delays,” says Sim Tiong Yan, Business Development Manager at Gamma Solution SDN BHD, a provider of smart city solutions. “Worker safety and port security are also major concerns.”

Ironically, the most significant port traffic challenges don’t involve ships but rather land vehicles that transport cargo. That may come as a surprise, but there are several reasons why ground traffic is so problematic in port areas.

Every truck arriving at a port must first check in with the port authority. The registration process is usually manual and can be quite slow—resulting in long lines of vehicles waiting to check in and creating traffic bottlenecks. In addition, drivers sometimes disobey port traffic regulations: stopping in no-parking zones, speeding, driving the wrong direction on a one-way route, or staying longer than their allotted time. This can interfere with operations and further slow the flow of traffic into and out of the port.

Further, the ongoing issue of port backups has caused environmental concerns, making it imperative to come up with innovative port management solutions.

#SmartCity solutions based on #EdgeAI and #ComputerVision help manage port traffic more effectively while also improving port safety and security. Gamma Solution SDN BHD via @insightdottech

Port Traffic Management Challenges and Solutions

The good news is that smart city solutions based on edge AI and computer vision help manage port traffic more effectively while also improving port safety and security. Built on flexible, modular edge hardware, these solutions can be deployed to ports all around the world and customized to suit local needs.

The Gamma TITANUS EYEoT solution, for example, employs optical character recognition (OCR) to streamline vehicle check-in by automatically registering each vehicle’s license plate at entry and capturing cargo container codes that truck drivers will need. Computer vision helps detect illegal parking, traffic violations, and measures the total time each vehicle has spent in the port. If a problem is detected, an official receives an alert so they can take corrective action.

Edge AI Offers Safety, Security, and Equipment Monitoring

Gamma’s solution helps solve key safety challenges facing port managers, such as detecting hard hats and reflective vests—helping ensure that workers comply with proper procedures. The system’s AI object recognition algorithm can also differentiate between humans and vehicles, able to send warnings to port operators if a person wanders into a vehicle-only zone—or if a truck goes through a pedestrian area.

In addition, the system contains equipment-monitoring capabilities for sensitive and potentially hazardous machinery. For example, ports often house chemical facilities, where tanks are carefully monitored to ensure that they do not exceed the safe temperature range, as an overheated tank could result in a fire or explosion. The TITANUS system uses thermal cameras and AI analytics to measure tank temperature, alerting a safety officer if danger is detected.

Combining cameras and AI also delivers more effective port security. The Gamma computer vision-based intrusion detection module can identify an unauthorized person trying to sneak into the port—but won’t create a false alarm if an object lands on the perimeter fencing. Biometric technology enables tiered access to sub-areas within the port. For example, an IT technician might be granted access to office areas, but not industrial zones.

ASEAN Case Study Highlights Potential for Customization

A good example of smart city solutions comes from Gamma’s custom deployment at a port in South Asia. A port operator had several safety and efficiency problems they wanted to solve. Gamma’s engineers proposed three possible implementation approaches:

  • Run the system on edge AI boxes and AI cameras, with all processing and automation performed right at the edge.
  • Connect standard IP cameras to a back-end server, with AI analysis and decision-making handled on the server.
  • Adopt a hybrid approach, using IP cameras with an edge AI box to perform some of the AI analytics workload at the edge while determining automated response actions via the back-end server.

In the end, the hybrid option was selected to provide the best balance of cost and performance. Port operators saw a significant improvement in traffic flow at the vehicle check-in counter. They also resolved the longstanding safety issue of dock workers repeatedly entering a potentially hazardous area. In the year prior to implementing the solution, the port had experienced more than 50 cases of worker violations by entering the restricted area. After the solution implementation, the number of incidents has fallen to zero.

Gamma’s technology partnership with Intel helped bring the solution to market—and made it easier to offer flexible deployment options. “Intel engineers helped us to optimize our AI models and offered benchmarking tools that allowed us to select the exact hardware specifications we needed for our deployment,” says Yan. “The benchmarking support on hardware performance has been a real help in winning over customers, because we can enable them to control costs and build tailor-made solutions based on their needs.”

Smarter, More Sustainable Cities

The world’s environmental and shipping challenges will become more critical in the years ahead. Scalable, customizable solutions that improve efficiency at ports will likely be of great interest to port authorities, city managers, and systems integrators (SIs).

The flexibility of these solutions holds another benefit for governments and SIs, because they are based on technologies that can easily be repurposed for other smart city use cases.

“There’s plenty of overlap between a smart port management solution and use cases in smart cities, manufacturing, and logistics,” says Yan. “These systems can also be used to ensure security at warehouses, improve worker safety in factories, or manage traffic flow in communities—making our cities smarter, safer, and more sustainable.”


This article was edited by Georganne Benesch, Editorial Director for