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AI and the Future of the Trucking Industry: What You Need to Know

Hussain Ali

The trucking industry in America is one of the largest revenue streams for our economy. It’s a huge industry worth almost $800 billion.

Every business and every consumer relies on the logistics network created by trucking. But just because it’s a massive, foundational industry in our economy doesn’t mean it’s going to stay where it is.

With an ever-increasing on faster shipping, pressure on the trucking industry is forcing it to evolve and adapt with the times. Many companies and startups are looking to revolutionize this industry, making it more efficient and more reliable.

One of the most prominent ways this is happening is through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI algorithms are transforming how trucking companies organize their fleets, plan their routes, utilize cross-chain truck space, and much more.

Wondering what the future of trucking looks like? What are the main AI trucking industry benefits you need to know about? The answers lie below. 

The Trucking Industry Ripe for Growth

The trucking industry is huge. With so many startups entering the space, we are expecting to see some major upsets and shifts take place in this arena soon.

Consider the fact that the trucking industry as a whole received $2 billion from investors in one year, as they look to propel this industry forward and capitalize on its growth. 

On top of that, investors have pumped $75 billion into AI startups in 2020 alone. 

In an industry with millions of workers, that uses 54 billion gallons of fuel each year, innovation from artificial intelligence is coming fast. 

AI and Fuel Efficiency

One of the most important ways that AI is handling fleet management is by helping it to reduce fuel usage. A single truck, over the course of one year, can use an insane amount of fuel.

And most fleets operate dozens, if not hundreds of trucks. So fuel is a major expense on the balance sheet. Anyway, that can lower the fuel consumption rate of a fleet is a welcome change by fleet managers. 

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By using AI-powered software, such as the Headlight Solutions management system, companies can start experiencing big savings without having to spend any money.

With software that can monitor fuel usage, it can identify weak points to help managers make improvements to limit waste.  

And with the ever-looming advent of self-driving trucks, fleets can become much more fuel-efficient, saving billions in fuel costs over fleets driven by humans. 

Advanced Route Optimization

Along with fuel savings, the right AI-powered software can help to identify the best routes, with the least miles driven, helping to shave off miles here and there, multiplying the savings across an entire fleet. 

AI evaluates traffic patterns, predicts future traffic flow, and can suggest when changes or reroutes might be necessary before it’s too late.

With AI involved in your management responsibilities, it can determine which trucks to load which loads on, which driver should be assigned to that load, and can help maximize space on all of your trucks to make the most out of every single drive. 

AI in your trucking software is like having the smartest, highest-paid trucking team working on your behalf. Without the huge cost of their salaries, of course. 

Increased Safety

Safety is a huge problem for the trucking industry. The average driver spends 11 hours behind the wheel at a time. Accidents involving drowsy drivers are common.

And the big problem is that these drowsy drivers are operating the biggest, heaviest vehicles on the highway.

Self-driving trucks will eliminate this problem altogether once it comes around. But today, many fleets are utilizing semi-autonomous trucks, thanks to AI. While drivers need to be present, with hands-on wheels at all times, AI can monitor speeds, detect traffic issues, and stop or slow the vehicle down when necessary. 

AI will make trucking safer now, and even more safe in the future. 

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Autonomous, Self-Driving Trucks 

One of the most obvious, yet profound ways that AI can transform the trucking industry is with autonomous, self-dring trucks. Numerous companies are currently working on their version of the self-driving truck, with the likes of Tesla, Volva, Locomotion, and others leading the development. 

When this becomes mainstream in the trucking industry, it will change everything. You can expect all of the benefits above to be multiplied, once the majority of human drivers are removed from the cab, and replaced by computers.

Fuel efficiency will rise. Trucks won’t need to stop for hours at a time while a driver sleeps. Unnecessary turns will be removed from routes. And highways will become much safer as a result. 

And while many complain that jobs are likely to be lost as a result, many more will be created, as this technology will need to be implemented, monitored, and maintained. 

Among the companies currently working on AI-powered trucks, many are already testing their technology. The reality of self-driving trucks isn’t far off. We are very close to seeing this technology deployed. 

AI and Customer Service

While AI in the truck is the most exciting, it’s not the only place you’ll find machine learning at work. Back at the office, trucking companies receive countless emails from their customers and partners every single day.

In order to operate their businesses, they need real-time information on delivery times. Some companies have implemented AI-powered customer service systems.

So when a customer needs an email asking where their freight is, the AI system can decipher the intent of the email, check the correct program and find the information, and respond accordingly with that information.

With AI handling customer service, clients get faster responses, leading to higher levels of satisfaction. And your team doesn’t have to deal with time-wasting phone calls and emails all day long. 

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Ushering in a New Trucking Industry

The trucking industry and artificial intelligence are meant to be together. While the trucking industry is vital to our modern society, it still relies on countless archaic practices.

As the trucking industry enters the 21st century, you can expect to see a complex industry modernize and embrace AI like very few industries have. 

Looking for more tips and insights like this? Be sure to check out our blog to find plenty more articles. 

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