Crowd-sourcing tech eases a trip down the Mississippi River
Mississippi River vessels will soon have access to an app similar to Waze but for boat traffic to help them navigate the river's tricky, ever-changing conditions.
Why it matters: The Mississippi River is a critical thoroughfare for American commerce but backups occur if large ships can't pass through shallow areas created by natural sediment or severe storms.
What's new: The country's first “smart port" in Baton Rouge, La. will use crowd-sourced data from tugs, barges and other vessels to help ships transit the river safely and efficiently.
- The centerpiece of the digital platform is a "real-time shoaling forecast tool" that will collect depth data from workboats on the river, then use predictive analytics about sedimentation and shoaling to direct other vessels to the safest berths.
- The software will be coupled with a suite of weather, river, and road traffic analytics to improve efficiency and help the region’s ports become more resilient, especially in the face of natural disasters.
- The $3 million project includes a new Smart Port facility in Baton Rouge, and is funded in part by a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency.