The evolution of technology is constantly changing the way the world does business. In recent months, the COVID-19 crisis has dramatically increased the use of online shopping and fast shopping. From the increased use of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and autonomous trucks, we are definitely living in an exciting time for technology trends in distribution and transportation.
Self-driving cars and trucks have been a hot topic in the last few years. In 2018, we saw the delivery of the first revenue-generating load that was transported by an autonomous truck.
Quite a few companies such as Uber, Navistar, Aurora, and more have been working to take their business to the next level by integrating some form of self-driving technology. While early tests resulted in a small number of injuries and fatalities, the technology is still being developed and several types of self-driving vehicles are operating on the roads today.
Keep in mind, self-driving does not mean driverless. While some systems require less driver attention than others for basic functioning, all self-driving vehicles in use today have a driver who must pay attention and be available to take the wheel as needed.
In the last few years, real-time smart routing been identified as a money-saving way to ensure efficient distribution and cut down on congestion. Path routing technology determines the most efficient movements of goods, equipment, and people and provides the drivers with the best routes and schedules. This technology even updates routes when last-minute changes occur.
When some people hear the term artificial intelligence (AI), they think of the robots often seen in sci-fi movies, who usually want to take over the world. Never fear though, artificial intelligence just refers to building “smart” machines that are able to “think” like a human being.
There are countless variations of artificial intelligence in use today. In the world of distribution and transportation, AI is being used for many different functions. One of these functions is to considerably improve accurate demand forecasting and capacity planning, which can significantly decrease operational costs and therefore increase profits. Simply put, AI is used to increase automation and efficiency.
Another emerging trend is the increased visibility and tracking technology that offers a way to receive real-time locations for both entire fleets and individual items whole they are in transit. This allows both the transporter and the receiver to see where shipments are at any given time and help to prevent theft during every step of the distribution process.
In consideration of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, transportation and distribution methods have had to undergo major changes to ensure the health and safety of all individuals involved in the processes. This is not something that is expected to change anytime soon – many experts are predicting further technological advances over the next few years, including the increase of drone delivery and more.
These are just a few of the exciting new technology trends in distribution and transportation. Keep your eyes open, as these advances are expected to continue in the coming years as new technology is developed and integrated.