Artificial Intelligence in Commercial TruckingAlex Milzer
Artificial Intelligence is a technology that uses “neural networks” to extract and learn patterns from data input, eventually leading to using the data autonomously. The forefront of artificial intelligence aims to make economics more efficient and streamline supply chain and logistics. In commercial trucking, artificial intelligence is making itself known in almost every single element of the industry, from vastly improving safety and scheduling to saving on fuel and maintenance with predictive algorithms. Artificial intelligence could be the key to growth for trucking companies looking to expand their business, especially in the current labor shortage.
Autonomous Driving and Labor Shortages
Autonomous driving is the next big thing in the automotive industry, as it stands to change how we view transportation, and it will play a tremendous role in shaping our future. Autonomous driving effectively operates a vehicle without the assistance of a human being. It’s a step in the way to full autonomy and automation. According to AI Multiple, 55% of all small businesses currently are preparing for the entire trucking fleet to be autonomously driven within two decades. This is particularly important when taken in conjunction with the labor shortage prevalent in the post-pandemic economy. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the truck transportation industry lost 6% of its pre-pandemic labor force of 1.52 million workers. As of July, the industry had recovered about 63,000 of those lost jobs but still remains about 33,000 jobs short of employment levels in February 2020. The business world needs a functional commercial trucking industry with plenty of drivers to satisfy demand, and therefore autonomous driving is at the vanguard of solving this issue.
Accident Safety and Prevention
Autonomous Driving and Artificial Intelligence implementation can significantly reduce accidents caused by “human error” and thus are at the forefront of increasing safety for commercial trucking. The Department of Transportation conducted a study in 2016 and concluded that fully autonomous vehicles could reduce transportation fatalities by up to 94% over a ten-year period. As an owner of a trucking or freight company, what better way to keep your truck driver safety, as well as other passengers on the road, than implementing AI. Fewer accidents also will mean lower insurance costs, so it’s a win/win.
Fuel efficiency is a significant concern for trucking companies looking to maximize profit. Naturally, fuel fluctuates with oil prices and thus needs to be efficient as possible at all times. Traditionally, the cheapest way to lower fuel costs is by reducing the weight of a truck while making sure that the cargo stays in place and is not damaged in any way. “Smart Sensors” are sensors installed in the truck that use artificial intelligence and algorithms to monitor weight and tire fluctuations constantly. Furthermore, more efficient usage of fuel leads to less polluting gases. As a truck owner or operator, implementing fuel efficiency can greatly assist three crucial things: less fuel consumption, faster travel time, and less pollution.
Everyone on planet earth knows the value of using google maps to plan your route; however, the use of artificial intelligence creates even more dynamic routes for truck drivers. Dynamic routing can change routes in real-time based on input such as traffic, road closures, weather, and other driving conditions. One of the main advantages of dynamic routing is scalability. It provides a system with the flexibility to work no matter how destinations or demand changes on the go. Getting your truck drivers to their destination on time rather than sitting in traffic saves fuel costs and provides ample time for loading and unloading goods.
Predictive maintenance is a data-driven approach to vehicle maintenance that uses algorithms and machine learning to suggest the ideal time to perform maintenance, repairs, or parts replacements. Items like oil, for example, can be measured not only in traditional ways but can take into account things like road curvatures and driving temperatures to create the most optimal time to change the oil. Commercial Truck drivers know their biggest asset is their truck, and thus, the maintenance of some of the key parts can be tracked using “smart sensors” and AI. The engine and transmission can be tracked using different data that allows the driver to change or modify these essential parts before going on the road.