Renault Group’s supply chain division has partnered with École des Ponts ParisTech, school of science, engineering and technology, to explore the future of AI optimisation in the supply chain.

The carmaker has worked with the prestigious French school previously, partnering to use its advanced research and applied mathematics centre, known as Cermics, to expand supply chain operational research. The new five-year agreement was signed on November 24 by Denis Le Vot, chief supply chain officer at Renault Group and CEO of Dacia, and Anthony Briant, director of the École des Ponts ParisTech, to strengthen the partnership and accelerate innovation in the supply chain using artificial intelligence.

renault and paristech agreement

Anthony Briant, École des Ponts ParisTech (left) and Denis Le Vot, Renault Group (right) signed a five-year partnership to explore the future of AI in the supply chain

Working with machine learning, operational research and generative AI is essential to meet the challenges of digitalisation and to process massive volumes of data. Renault Group said the renewal of this partnership will make it possible to propose ambitious studies based on concrete logistics optimisation challenges.

The OEM said: “Renault Group has built a supply chain based on extensive traceability and decision-making tools, supported by artificial intelligence, aimed at creating more value for its customers while reducing costs, inventories and environmental footprint. This transformation is accompanied by new ways of working and a strengthening of skills.”

The carmaker has now partnered again with the school to draw on the expertise of Cermics and invest on innovations over a long period of time; this being the longest agreement that the carmaker has signed with any academic partner.

Renault Group has been placing digitalisation at the forefront of its supply chain innovations in recent years. In 2017, the carmaker recognised it needed a platform to bring together every element of the production and supply chain process, creating a digital replica of all operations. It spent two years equipping 2,400 hectares of workshops with the necessary communication infrastructure to connect every object and provide a real-time digital simulation of operations.

It then extended this digital twin into its logistics with the development of a digital control tower together with key technology providers, including integrating public data and information from Google Cloud and real-time shipping information form Shippeo. The tower provides greater visibility of inbound and outbound flows, as well as the ability to predict and mitigate any disruption within the supply chain.

Read more: How the automotive supply chain is preparing for the next generation of AI

Earlier this year, Jean-François Salles, vice-president of partnerships (then global vice-president of supply chain) at Renault Group, spoke at Automotive Logistics & Supply Chain Europe, where he said technology such as the control tower, AI and digital twins helped put supply chain and logistics central to decision-making at the company. “This kind of tool gives an unprecedented ability to anticipate the risks of a shortage to collaborate with the different actors, including our tier-one suppliers and transporters,” he told delegates in Bonn, Germany. “Our transporters provide information and this gives us the ability to prescribe some solutions with the support of AI.”

The French OEM’s renewed partnership will be coordinated with Axel Parmentier, teacher and researcher at Cermics, who will lead on the scientific content of the research. The studies carried out by Cermics are intended to be the subject of theses to make operational improvements based on highly complex mathematical methods, such as large-scale, data-driven, combinatorial optimisation and machine learning.