How Artificial Intelligence Technology is Revolutionizing Transportation
If you had a time machine and traveled back in time five years, the transportation industry would look very different than it does today. Over the past half-decade, transformation has been the name of the game, most of which revolves around automation through the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
In many ways, the transportation and logistics industry lagged behind other industries regarding the availability of advanced technology. Streamlining operational efficiency, improving safety, and reducing risk was a painstaking process that left information gaps and provided limited visibility at best.
Since 2017, the advancements have come fast and often, with technology constantly outpacing previous versions. AI is the latest in a long line of recent developments, and it is one that is having a wider impact than you might expect. As the technology evolves, new applications ranging from distribution analysis to market trends and everything in between are now being analyzed and impacted by artificial intelligence.
For organizations looking to gain control of their transportation costs and global operations, artificial intelligence is a key component. Within tools like Trax’s freight audit and payment processing platform, AI helps simplify the complex challenges of the global supply chain.
6 Ways AI Is Transforming the Transportation Industry
Despite its relatively new status within the transportation industry, AI has spread like wildfire. Just about every piece of technology related to transportation and logistics is currently using some form of AI, or it is on their product roadmap. While we can’t predict the future, we can certainly provide an overview of the pieces that are currently being improved with artificial intelligence.
Enhancing Transportation Efficiency
Operational efficiency is one of the best ways to reduce transportation spend. Up until the AI revolution, efficiency was based on the information that you had available to your organization. Growing your organization, adding additional markets, or implementing new verticals added layers of complexity that someone had to learn to navigate.
AI cuts through the noise and helps connect data that was previously unavailable or simply overlooked. Pieces like traffic pattern analysis and dynamic route optimization have become central pieces that help shippers avoid unnecessary delays, and fleet managers ensure a smooth process for their customers.
Fleet Management and Maintenance
Since the truck replaced the horse and buggy, maintenance has been at the forefront of fleet management conversations. Keeping vehicles moving required the tedious process of preventative maintenance. While we certainly won’t argue that preventative maintenance has its place within the fleet management conversation, it produces a reactionary process that negatively impacts vehicle performance and utilization.
The move to predictive maintenance is quickly becoming the preferred method across the globe. As more technology is introduced and edge computing continues to improve, real-time diagnostics and prognostics are instantly available.
Rather than waiting for the check engine light to come on, fleet managers, with the help of AI, now have the ability to gain instant insights into issues. This means that parts can be ordered, and vehicles aren’t at the mercy of a backed-up shop.
Improving Safety and Security
Do a quick Google search on data breaches in the transportation industry and you won’t be left wanting. As the amount of data and information collected in the transportation industry has grown exponentially, so has the likelihood of being hacked.
AI-based threat detection and prevention tools are becoming standard across the industry as organizations look to lock down data and protect themselves from a potential cyber-attack.
Within the vehicles themselves, AI is also making a major impact on safety. AI-powered sensors and cameras can help prevent accidents, curb poor driving behavior, and more. Fleets don’t have to invest in autonomous vehicles to find AI, as they are at the heart of anti-collision systems such as automatic braking.
Enhancing Customer Experience
So much AI within the transportation industry points to fleet optimization and reducing costs, and it is rightfully deserved. An area that is easily overlooked is the customer experience. Tools such as predictive delivery and ETA accuracy are becoming less of a convenience and more of an expectation with customers across the globe.
While AI cannot replace the human element and personal touch, it certainly makes it easier to provide customers with white glove service. By tying data from multiple sources together, it relays delivery updates to both the shipper and the customer in near real-time.
Supply Chain Optimization
The ebbs and flows of the global supply chain are well known. As suppliers look toward peak seasons, demand forecasting is pushed front and center. Historical models aren’t anything new in the transportation industry, but filtering through a never-ending stream of information bogs down the process and creates inevitable information gaps.
AI not only cuts the time it takes to decipher historical data, but it also fills in the gaps with hard evidence. This creates more consistent and accurate demand forecasting that can then be used to control production costs.
Demand forecasting might be the first domino in the supply chain being impacted by AI, but it is far from the last. Inventory management looks very different than it did just a few years ago. Intelligent tracking and control systems are making it easier for warehouses to optimize stock levels and adjust in real time as demand goes up or down throughout the year.
Autonomous Logistics and Drones
Earlier, we mentioned AI finding its way into traditional fleet vehicles. It is important to note that while those options are growing, so is the push for autonomous vehicles and drone technology. Applications may be more limited, but in places such as final mile delivery, these advanced tools are finding a foothold.
In both cases, there are certainly wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but more and more resources are being directed into research and development of autonomous delivery.
Implementing AI With Trax
If the past five years have proven anything, it is that the next five years will be a wild ride in the transportation industry. With no signs of slowing down, the amount of artificial intelligence being added to the day-to-day operations across the global supply chain will only continue to grow. One thing is certain, AI has the potential to streamline operations and reduce transportation spend.
At Trax, we understand the power that AI holds for simplifying the complex challenges of the global supply chain. Since day one, we have been committed to helping lead the way with innovative systems and tools, like our freight audit and payment platform, to help global organizations improve visibility and improve their bottom line.
Connect with the Trax team to learn more about integrating AI into your process.
Trax is the global leader in Transportation Spend Management solutions. We partner with the most global and complex brands to drive meaningful optimizations and savings through industry-leading technology solutions and world-class advisory services. With the largest global footprint spanning North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, we enable our clients to have greater control over their transportation performance and spend. Our focus is on your success.