How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing The Face Of Fleet Management

Fleet Management

Just about everything comes with a built-in computer these days. We have smartphones, smart refrigerators, smartwatches, and smart cars and they all combine artificial intelligence (AI) and the IoT (Internet of Things) to intuitively learn our behaviors. That’s not all they do, however.

AI technology is transforming the way we interact with our surroundings and is growing at a rapid pace. While we don’t have those flying cars we were promised (Back To The Future, anyone?), our vehicles can use telematics to do just about anything else, including driving themselves. When you combine IoT with AI, the possibilities for trucking fleets are endless.

What Is AI and How Does It Work With IoT?

AI, or artificial intelligence, used to be a term only used in sci-fi movies and generally referred to on-ship computers or robots. What AI really is, though, is a fancy term for Masters In AI and Machine Learning in Paris. It’s the ability of a computer to mimic behavior and patterns typically only exhibited by intelligent beings, or things with brains.

IoT, the Internet of Things is a network of objects that, using embedded software and sensors, can communicate with each other by way of the internet. Smart thermostats are controlled by our phones, for example.

When you combine objects linked to the IoT with AI, you get smart devices or components that communicate data to a server in which the AI responds by automatically making changes or suggestions based on what the user has programmed it to do. Take a smartwatch, for example. These devices use analytics to monitor and measure aspects of our behavior and can make suggestions for increasing or decreasing activity, check heart rates and send an alert if something seems amiss, and even call 911 if you fall.

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Examples are all around us but as it pertains to the trucking industry, in particular, AI is quickly becoming a highly utilized platform that can minimize human error and increase safety, ultimately increasing your company’s profit and maximizing the productivity of your fleet as a whole.

How Is AI Impacting Fleet Management?

Most vehicles produced today already come equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities but no matter what type of fleet your company utilizes, you can benefit from using AI platforms. They range in complexity and options but there are a few key things you should expect the platform to do.

●    Improve Driver Safety

When it comes to maximizing your fleet’s productivity, driver safety is a top priority. Drivers are required to take breaks every so many hours and have a specific amount of time allocated for rest between routes. Current technology, such as GPS, offers platforms for tracking time and mileage, but why not do better?

AI can use telematics to not only detect driver patterns and drive time but can also detect road conditions and driver behavior. Using smart city technology (weather and traffic tracking) and sensors in the tires and brake systems, AI can detect unsafe driving conditions and signal to the driver to avoid travel or the AI can intuitively slow the vehicle down to optimum speeds for road conditions.

That’s not all it can do. Using facial recognition and reaction time, along with lane cross-over sensors, AI systems can detect driver fatigue or whether a driver is operating under the influence. The AI will send a notification to the fleet manager and the driver indicating the situation and can make real-time adjustments, such as shutting a vehicle down or not allowing it to start. A fleet manager can also make a call to the driver requesting they pull over for a rest. Ultimately, the use of AI can reduce the number of fleet accidents, which stands to benefit everyone.

●    Predictive Maintenance

Most semis are on a routine schedule for things like oil changes, transmission flushes, and tire replacements, but what if the vehicle isn’t ready for one of those things? Does it make sense for a company to change fluids simply because a certain mileage has been met? What about vehicles that are driving under different conditions? Not every truck will require an oil change at 10,000 miles so why conduct the service if the oil is still running clean?

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AI uses sensors and other diagnostic technology to predict when service is needed, which ultimately reduces vehicle downtime and saves money on unnecessary maintenance repairs while also forecasting when certain other repairs will need to be addressed. Combined with data analytics and the IoT, fleet managers can view the overall health of their fleet and plan for maintenance in advance, reducing downtime and sudden breakdowns.

●    Real-time Analytics and Integration

Why wait for your drivers to turn in their logs when you can run applications that report real-time data and disseminate it to relevant parties. For example, AI can detect mileage and fluid levels and report those conditions to a maintenance supervisor, who can then relay a message to the driver to bring the truck in for service.

Along the lines of driver safety, AI platforms can also use predictive analytics to alert drivers of potential delays along the route and reroute them accordingly. AI can also use real-time data, such as camera systems inside and outside the vehicles, to report data related to accidents. All of the data is integrated between other platforms and can be accessed by other users as well.

The Bottom Line

When fleet management incorporates AI platforms, the bottom line is that driver safety, maintenance predictions, and analytics improve. These improvements lead to cost-savings for your company and not only increase profits but increase the overall health of your fleet and its operators.

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About the Author: John Watson