How AI Streamlines Freight Movement

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Although the concepts of artificial intelligence and machine learning are not new, rapid advancements in this area are driving the future of software development in the freight transportation industry.

Increasingly, technology providers are using AI and ML to bring greater efficiency to the digital ecosystem that connects freight, including transportation management systems, load boards and pricing tools and capacity management.

Several developers explained how they leverage AI during a panel discussion April 8 at the Transportation Intermediaries Association’s Capital Ideas 2022 Conference and Expo in San Diego.

Clevenger

Criss Wilson, data scientist at McLeod Software, said AI and ML can help make sense of the vast amount of data collected by trucking and logistics companies and their technology providers.

McLeod, for its part, has 137 integrations with e-commerce partners, Wilson said.

He compared the situation to standing in the middle of a large crowd with everyone talking simultaneously.

“Which one are you listening to? Which are you acting on? Which should you prioritize? No human being can listen to 137 voices – distinct and individual – to aggregate them, understand them and prioritize them in order to act. It is beyond our human capabilities,” Wilson said. “For us, AI and ML prioritize all of these different cues and determine which ones need to be seen and heard out loud.”

Parade, a technology company that offers a capacity management tool for third-party logistics providers, uses AI in a variety of ways, including data collection.

For us, [artificial intelligence] and [machine learning] prioritizes all of these different cues and determines which should be seen and heard aloud.

Criss Wilson, Data Scientist for McLeod

Criss Wilson

The company uses a natural language processing model trained in trucking jargon to analyze relevant information from emails, said Tony Wu, co-founder and chief technology officer of Parade.

“Ultimately, data is king in the ML space,” Wu said. “The amount of accurate, clean, quality data you have determines how well your application performs.”

Another provider, Greenscreens.ai, uses AI and ML to enable dynamic freight pricing.

Dawn Salvucci-Favier, the company’s CEO and product manager, also highlighted the value of high-quality data for AI applications.

“The more data the algorithm has, the smarter it gets, the better it can do,” she said.

Ultimately, better market visibility should help carriers, freight brokers, and other transportation industry players build better business relationships and work together with less friction.

“We believe transparency of information creates trust,” said Brent Hutto, relationship manager at loading panel operator Truckstop.com.

The adoption of technology has allowed modern transportation companies to access an ocean of data about their operations and better understand general market conditions. The next step is to find better ways to actually use all of this information. AI and ML will play a leading role in this process.

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