Over the past few months, the global supply chain has been heavily constrained resulting in long wait times and missing goods. Alphabet’s X moonshot factory wants to tackle that problem with Project Chorus.

The Project Chorus team at X has spent the last 3.5 years working with partners to understand the “highly interdependent and brittle” supply chain where “even small disruptions to this system can cause big, rippling consequences.”

From logistics companies in the U.S. and Europe, to medical distributors in Asia- Pacific, the reason we heard over and over is a lack of visibility into where various product components and finished goods are, and what condition they’re in.

X’s solution is “developing new sensors, software and machine learning tools to radically improve our real-time understanding of where physical goods are located, where they are needed, what state they are in, and how they are used.” The goal is to essentially make these shipments smart and connected to identify what can be fixed or be made more efficient. It placed sensors onboard delivery trucks in Japan to collect data for several months.

Chorus believes that combining those three technologies “could dramatically improve the orchestration and movement of the world’s goods,” and is a “moonshot-sized opportunity” that reaps massive benefits. For example:

What if perishable objects like food or medicines could alert us if they are too hot or too cold, or how much shelf life they have left? How might we give businesses predictive, real-time insights they need to prevent unnecessary waste or delays? What if we could match supply and demand in a dynamic way? 

The team is focusing on transportation and logistics, healthcare, and food first before eventually expanding to construction, retail, and manufacturing.

Long term, Chorus hopes to make all aspects of the supply chain work in harmony and  dramatically improve the orchestration and movement of the world’s goods.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com