The Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Transportation

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Transportation

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The demand for quicker delivery and more trucks on the road is higher than ever – unfortunately clashing with the rapidly diminishing rate of truckers in America. Emphasis placed on the pursuit of white collar jobs has caused the American culture to assign a negative connotation to the title of “truck driver.” However, with focuses shifting in the transportation industry, artificial intelligence in transportation is providing a brighter horizon for the industry.

Recent research shows that the number of businesses investing in artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing at a rapid rate each year – companies like Amazon, IBM, and Facebook only representing the tip of the iceberg. Although the transportation industry has always appeared to lag being the current benchmark for technology, the need for faster, more cost-effective and efficient trucking solutions are pushing businesses across the globe to invest in artificial intelligence for a few reasons.

Artificial Intelligence – What Is It?

Artificial intelligence is a word ascribed to computer systems that can perform tasks which would regularly only be accomplishable by humans. In other words, artificial intelligence systems not only carry the ability to do those tasks which they were designated, but also can adapt, evolve, and learn from their environments similar to humans. Artificial intelligence systems can absorb information from human, environmental, technological, and online resources to learn and produce answers significantly faster than humans. IBM’s “Watson” (an artificial intelligence supercomputer) even made short work of champions in a round of Jeopardy.  These systems give major potential to the continued development of the transportation industry for a few reasons.

Strong Predictive Analysis of Artificial Intelligence in Transportation

Half of the uncertainty of giving and receiving trucking quotes, estimated deliveries, and freight claims come from a lack of predictive capabilities. Since no all-encompassing system exists to integrate every carriers’ lanes, quotes, and deliveries, freight forwarders are left with no option but to take their “best stab” at guessing these factors. Although these windows of error have greatly diminished through years of practice, the only real solution to provide clear, concrete answers to clients is by utilizing the predictive analysis capabilities of an artificial intelligence system.

Imagine this – You have a shipment coming up for an important customer with incredibly short notice. You are scrambling to contact your transportation vendor about the shipment to receive a quote and ETD, but you need a solution quick, and it must be accurate. Aside from what your carrier regularly calls into consideration when giving you a rate and timeline (gas prices, cargo size, trucker availability, line haul distance, etc.), there are all too many alternative factors that can throw a wrench in your transportation plans. Most of us have been burned at least once by an unforeseen and seemingly uncontrollable circumstance.

Now imagine a system that could run an instant rate for you – not only taking into consideration the generic variables any carrier would factor in, but also including the risks of bad weather or foreseen construction work on major highways along the lane – all before they strike. Artificial intelligence in transportation systems can look deep into the web and return immediate results on potential risks, threats, extra costs, and delays that may be associated with the shipment based on events that would otherwise be unseen and not factored into consideration by any human with a computer.

Better Transportation Management Systems

Before artificial intelligence in transportation, each transportation management systems (TMS) has just served as another way of organizing big data. Innovations in TMS applications have begun to plateau over the recent years, making the distinction between leading competitors minuscule and causing industry leaders to turn to the potential benefits of implementing artificial intelligence in transportation systems (such as in their TMS applications.)

Artificial intelligence in transportation systems not only carries the benefit of organization but also the adaptability to learn. The majority of competitive threats in the transportation industry revolve around company size and innovative capabilities. Despite any amount of innovation on the part of a human mind, having an ever-evolving, ever-learning computer system that can innovate on its own presents a massive competitive advantage to any freight forwarder who can get their hands on such a program.

The potential exists for artificial intelligence transportation management systems to handle the entire process – from quote to delivery – on their own. Thus, an artificial intelligence TMS could fully automate freight transportation. The main benefit of a generic transportation management system – to display shipment data in an organized user interface – could be rendered archaic by the implementation of a program which can view information and make decisions on its own about the absolute best way to ship a product.

Adding Members to the Team

You’ve probably already come to this conclusion, but for the sake of role-playing “Captain Obvious,” the answer is yes. An artificial intelligence operating system practically serves as another employee. One with perfect test scores, predictive capabilities, fast answers, and quick learning abilities – all without the need to down a pot of coffee in the office every morning.

As stated before, the benefit of using artificial intelligence in transportation systems is not only the system’s intelligence but also its ability to learn in a manner similar to humans (though at a significantly faster pace.) In a sense, artificial intelligence in transportation management systems could only outperform every other TMS on the market all while maintaining the vision and values of each unique carrier.

Promises of Artificial Intelligence in Transportation

When people hear about artificial intelligence in transportation, their first thoughts resort to a robotic world rendered dry of personality. However, the promises of artificial intelligence in business are offering more efficient operations without sacrificing the unique character and personality of each company – it’s one of the primary benefits to AI systems in contrast to all past computer minds. The best part? All of it is arising in the near future. While industries such as social media and human assistive applications have taken first dibs on the software, the reproductive nature of AI systems is causing a wide-spread growth and implementation of the technology. Freight forwarders and NVOCC’s may begin utilizing artificial intelligence in transportation within a few years – all making for a more efficient, productive, communicative, and personable world to do business in.