A case study on Paris

tl;dr if you’re only interested in figuring out how you rank in terms of income in your neighborhood in Paris and its adjacent cities go directly here.
The source code for everything is available here.
If you want more details, read on!

Inequality is one of the hottest topics these days and one particularly dear to my heart. As a French who lived in the UK for a year and in California for 5, I always find fascinating to try to understand how societies evolve and what values and social contracts they establish.

Income (and wealth) inequality acceptance is obviously very different between France and the USA. France overall is very attached to a notion of social justice, and this was made clear by the recent protests that happened in the last year (the Yellow Vest movement, the protest against the retirement reform). A common feeling in discussions with French people is that for someone to make more, someone else has to be making less, and this leads to a fairly binary opposition of “the rich” vs “the poor” (I tried to debunk these terms in a previous post highlighting that these notions are hard to define). …


2017–2019, a retrospective

Two years ago, I started Shone with my co-founders Ugo and Antoine with the idea that other transportation industries had seen a lot of innovation and digitization that had not yet reached the maritime world. Bear in mind, at that time it was not yet mandatory for all cargo vessels to carry a digital chart system (ECDIS).

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ECDIS introduction timeline

Similarly, while there were dozens if not hundreds of startups and large companies working on autonomous ground vehicles (trucks, cars, delivery robots, etc.) and drones, there were surprisingly few working on ship autonomy and navigation assistance systems (I can recall about 3).

Since then quite a few interesting developments happened. In particular, we witnessed a strong initiative in maritime technology with industry-focused VCs and incubators popping up, ecosystem initiatives being launched, startups forming and big corporations working in the space. …


How the maritime world offers unique opportunities for human-machine enhancement

At Shone, we are very vocal about the fact that autonomous and unmanned are not the same thing. So let’s dive a bit deeper into why and how we envision autonomous manned ships.

Reducing the problem space

First, a crew is made of a diverse set of people. Some of them are engineers who make sure that the ship’s power systems run smoothly. Others are electricians who repair signal lights, correct electrical defects on bridge equipment or verify that a radar turning unit is correctly set up. Deck ratings perform cargo operations, deck maintenance and help out with the watch. Even the deck officers have a variety of duties not related to standing a watch. To make an unmanned ship requires to address each and all of those duties to automate them which represents a titanic endeavor (pun intended).


A graphical dive into non-linearity of income distribution

The recent Yellow Vests movement in France has picked my curiosity about the income inequality situation in France (and the world at large). Being of the data-driven kind I started looking for numbers about this in order to better gauge the state of affairs.

Code and data to replicate all the results below is available here (file dive_into_1_percent.R for the code and impots-france.csv for the data).

A first look at the data

What is interesting is that most of the data I could find online was breaking down income (or total revenue — which also includes capital gains) in deciles or percentiles. This is not surprising as it seems to be the common way to describe income distribution in the media and public discussions — see for instance how percentiles are used here (USA) or here (France). …


How the maritime industry can invent its own path in the autonomous space

This simple equation is a key driver of our work at Shone. We believe that humans are extremely valuable and talented. That’s the reason why we care a lot about providing the crews with great technology that makes their lives easier and helps them accomplish more. And to do so, we need to debunk the autonomous = unmanned fallacy.

Actually we believe in this so much that we made this the main message of our website’s landing page.

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Shone’s landing page

To understand why we put this message so front and center, we need to take a step back.

The push for manned autonomous ships

When we started Shone, Antoine was working on autonomous drones for wind turbine repair at Camp Six Labs, Ugo was working on HD maps for self-driving cars at Mapbox, and I was implementing human-like behaviors for driverless trucks at Starsky Robotics. What we were seeing was that a lot of the very hard problems in the autonomous space stem from the fact that making a system that behaves perfectly 100% of the time is hard, very hard (I’m not the one saying this, Waymo’s Director of Engineering is). …


The unfortunate tale of a missed reef

This series highlights recent maritime accidents, detail their causes and highlight how intelligent systems could help prevent future incidents.

It is inspired by the fact that when I co-founded Shone, I learnt that most accidents happen due to human errors. Actually, studies show that a staggering 96% of accidents are caused by human error.

Let’s take a look at an accident that happened in 2017 near Nouméa, New Caledonia.

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The Kea Trader after it broke in two due to heavy weather.

What happened

At 00:55 (UTC +11) on July 12th 2017, the Maltese registered 2,194 TEU container ship Kea Trader ran aground and stranded over Récif Durand (Durand Reef) in the Pacific Ocean. …


Piloting gone wrong

This series highlights recent maritime accidents, detail their causes and highlight how intelligent systems could help prevent future incidents.

It is inspired by the fact that when I co-founded Shone, I learnt that most accidents happen due to human errors. Actually studies show that a staggering 96% of accidents are caused by human error.

Let’s take a look at an accident that happened in 2013 in the San Francisco Bay.

The allision of the Overseas Reymar with the Bay Bridge

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Overseas Reymar after the allision with the Bay Bridge

What happened


How a small mistake in chart plotting can lead to a disaster

This series highlights recent maritime accidents, detail their causes and highlight how intelligent systems could help prevent future incidents.

It is inspired by the fact that when I co-founded Shone, I learnt that most accidents happen due to human errors. Actually studies show that a staggering 96% of accidents are caused by human error.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our first case study: the MS Oliva.

The grounding of the MS Oliva

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Grounded MS Oliva

What happened

The MS Oliva — a 225m (738ft) dry bulk carrier transporting soya beans — ran aground at 14 knots at 4:30am on 16th March 2011 at the far north-west promontory of Nightingale Island, a small volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic. The weather conditions worsened over time and a heavy swell started developing. The swell became so bad that on March 18th, the ship broke in two. …


Shipping is largely ignored by most and yet absolutely fundamental to our global economy. Over 80% of goods are carried by sea and the world merchant fleet totals about 50,000 ships, and the only reason I know this is because I co-founded Shone, a startup focused on shipping technology.

Almost every day I learn something new about shipping, but one of the things that still shocks me to this day is something I read in August of last year: the 15 biggest ships pollute as much as all the cars in the world.

To make this clearer, it means that 15 ships = 750M cars in terms of pollution.

About

Clement Renault

Co-founder of Shone

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