Artificial Intelligence (AI) has received plenty of attention recently but it is not a new concept and is already employed in many fields, including fleet management. As AI becomes more entrenched in many systems there will be many benefits in the fleet industry.
For many years the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has formed the basis of many sci-fi, thriller and horror films, where machines take over the world. Most are a great watch, but the reality of AI is a bit more mundane. It’s also been around for much longer than people realise and is already used in many industries.
Let’s start with what AI really is: according to IBM:
“At its simplest form, artificial intelligence is a field, which combines computer science and robust datasets, to enable problem-solving. It also encompasses sub-fields of machine learning and deep learning, which are frequently mentioned in conjunction with artificial intelligence. These disciplines are comprised of AI algorithms which seek to create expert systems which make predictions or classifications based on input data.”
In a nutshell, AI is a programme that can learn from the information and data it processes. It doesn’t just run wild, it follows the guidelines and instructions we give it in order to extract the information we need from data. And it learns along the way, so it can find better ways to process or report the data, or find new patterns in the data (such as new trends) and so on.
Fundamentally, AI is still a programme that follows your instructions, it just keeps finding better ways to do it: how it learns and evolves all depends on how it's guided.
How AI already streamlines fleet management
AI has been used in fleet telematics systems for many years. The fleet industry revolves around data, used for everything from reducing fuel cost to improving driver behaviour.
Data is precisely where AI thrives, which is why many modern telematics systems use various forms of AI to improve fleet efficiencies. For example:
- Predicting fuel usage per vehicle on specific routes.
- Live tracking to help drivers avoid high traffic areas or roadworks.
- Driver monitoring, alerting the driver if they seem to be getting drowsy or are not paying attention to speed guidelines (as seen in the video below).
- Predictive maintenance; by using existing data to gauge when vehicles will need certain maintenance or part’s replaced.
- Tyre monitoring is critical, and by using road, vehicle and tyre data AI can predict tyre lifespan under relevant road conditions.
All of the above examples require as much data as possible, so the system has as much information as possible to learn from. The more data the AI has to analyse, the more accurately these systems can predict various outcomes.
The same applies to fleet management reporting. It’s essential that reporting data be accurate (fuel consumption, mileage, driver scoring, route optimisation, fuel fraud detection and more). Fleet managers rely on these reports to make all the important decisions about their fleet. If these reports are wrong, it quickly leads to expensive mistakes.
Most reputable fleet companies have been using data collection systems - many supported by some form of AI - to collect and analyse fleet data for years. This means their systems have years and years of data to rely on when it’s needed to generate predicted outcomes of suggested fleet changes. This is a big advantage as these mature AI data systems will give you logical and accurate options to improve your fleet operations.
This article on Field Technologies Online dives further into how AI is shaping today’s fleet industry.
AI and the future
When it comes to fleet management the opportunities to incorporate AI in the future are almost endless. As AI becomes more commonplace and evolves within the fleet industry, we can expect developments such as:
- Automatic fuelling, loading and vehicle health checks.
- Intelligent scheduling systems that automatically reroute or reschedule vehicles and goods as needed to optimise operations.
- More robust driver safety measures with Intelligent driver support that can learn how to best support different drivers in different circumstances.
- Self-driving vehicles - these are already in use, but as these AI systems evolve they will become more adaptable to different environments and increase their scope of use within the fleet industry.
- We could see connected AI systems that communicate from the port of origin right through to the final mile - with accurate and automated admin and reports generated at key points.
These are just a few examples and you will find many more that range from handy to ‘oh wow’. The fact is, AI is already a part of the fleet industry and is already responsible for improved efficiencies.
Security of information and rigorous testing will always guide where and how AI is used within fleet management, but the fact that it’s opened so many new ways for fleet managers to optimise their operations and reduce costs means that AI will keep evolving within the fleet industry.
Artificial Intelligence is currently making headlines, but you may be surprised by how widely these systems are already in use, specifically in the fleet industry. Subscribe to our blog for all the latest insight in data system trends. Make use of our free resources to make sure your fleet is headed in the right direction and operating as efficiently as possible.