Exciting applications of IoT route optimization for truckers

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is starting to cause massive positive changes in the logistics industry and for individual truck drivers. Many applications for IoT in logistics can check where certain deliveries are at any point in the supply chain and if any issues arise.

Next, the IoT improves trucking by showing drivers optimized routes to get deliveries to their destinations on time. These details can keep them from getting frustrated with traffic backups, crashes, or other mishaps.

IoT can also give more visibility into what is happening on the road. This is vital — especially since a a single truck accident could cost $74,000, according to an industry source. Here’s a look at why the Internet of Things is a game-changer for trucking professionals and route optimization.

Get more insights into driver behaviors and feelings

Having a career based around driving can be stressful. Even if someone carefully follows all the rules of the road, they still have to deal with everyone else who might be distracted, upset, or completely unaware of the best practices for safe driving. Of course, even the safest drivers aren’t perfect, so they might find distractions too.

IoT improves trucking by showing people more details about how drivers feel. A French automotive technology company has even launched a product that track drivers heart rategiving clues when they might be stressed and need a break.

Dispatchers could use this information in route planning. If a driver experiences a long period of elevated heart rate, the person in charge of routing may suggest stopping at a gas station or ending their shift early.

The use of IoT in logistics also highlights driver behaviors that could impact routing. Thanks to IoT sensors, the person overseeing the routing may notice that a driver takes longer at each stop than most of their peers or has a higher percentage of idle time. These are two things that training and coaching could improve. Additionally, such behaviors can mean that the driver showing them may not be programmed to handle the most urgent deliveries.

People in many roles – inside and outside trucking – often bottle up their feelings and don’t mention if they’re under too much pressure until the situation feels almost unbearable. However, IoT sensors could reduce these issues by making people more aware of what’s going on. That could mean drivers are getting sensor data confirming they’re under too much stress, or dispatchers might be noticing particular red flags.

Shorten the time it takes to get emergency service

Keeping an industrial fleet running smoothly means knowing the right times to perform certain maintenance activities. Cleaning a truck’s diesel particulate filter is a good example — this should ideally occur every 50,000 miles (tompsontrucksource dot com) or once a year. Otherwise, the vehicle risks engine failure and costly downtime.

However, even the best-maintained trucks can break down without warning. IoT sensors tend to reduce this likelihood by making people aware of problems earlier.

Researchers also offered another option, examining how the IoT could make roadside assistance services more efficient. This technology could give crews information about stranded vehicles before they arrive on scene and provide route details to reduce delays associated with receiving assistance.

The results indicated that such a service would increase customer loyalty and the satisfaction of those who use it. This makes sense, especially considering how upsetting it can be to deal with vehicle breakdowns.

These same issues can make life incredibly difficult for professional truckers who must meet tight deadlines. Likewise, using IoT in logistics like this could prevent vehicle breakdowns contributing to the spoilage of perishables or the late arrival of essential items.

A vehicle’s on-board IoT sensors could also guide a driver to the nearest service center once they detect an issue that needs urgent attention. In such cases, IoT technology usually works with artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. It is then possible to predict that a component will fail soon, giving people time to address the issue.

Since truckers often cross state and country borders on their trips, they probably won’t know the nearest places to go for vehicle maintenance. Connected sensors could show them the nearest options and send information about a vehicle’s problem to the service provider before arrival. The IoT improves trucking by providing relevant and timely information.

See how the IoT is improving trucking efficiency

April 2021 statistics showed 30% of global customers expect deliveries to arrive within 24 hours. Additionally, 46% of people want their goods to arrive two to three days after ordering. It is undeniable that individuals in today’s society have high expectations when it comes to delivery times.

How things turn out doesn’t just depend on truckers delivering items to people’s doorsteps. After all, there are also other parties handling the goods. Even so, the use of IoT in logistics can give people more control over certain parts of the process.

A Berlin-based company called LivingPackets shows how the IoT could make shipping and deliveries more sustainable. It is a packaging-as-a-service company that sells connected, reusable containers as alternatives to traditional options.

Recipients and merchants can track packages every step of the way thanks to IoT connectivity. An app shows every part of the delivery process, making it easy to track when and why something went wrong. A person can also use an app to change delivery details on the fly. Indeed, each container has an electronic ink screen, allowing information to be updated quickly.

Suppose a recipient forgets to add delivery instructions or remembers they’ll be in the office rather than home on a particular day – they can access the app to specify those items. This information helps truckers work more efficiently, especially when managing last mile deliveries.

Reduce the effects of traffic congestion

Efforts to apply IoT in logistics and trucking are often tied to security. For example, Ford recently began testing a sensor setup that create a virtual border (iotworldtoday dot com) where a driver can only navigate at certain speeds.

For truckers, staying within the speed limit keeps them safe and protects others. However, speed is often necessary for other professionals who spend much of their time on the road. This is the case with first responders.

Researchers explored how the IoT could play a key role in guide ambulances and similar vehicles to their destinations so that they encounter a minimum of traffic jams. Their solution relied on connected sensors receiving live traffic updates. However, there was also an aspect where ordinary individuals use an Android app to provide crowdsourced information about traffic backups.

This approach uses geolocated sensors placed at strategic intervals along the road. They constantly collect information to detect the amount of traffic at any given time. People working on this project suggested that the results could help improve emergency service response times in smart cities.

It’s easy to see how this idea could expand to include truckers as well. If people want their packages to arrive on time, they might be especially willing to contribute to a crowdsourcing app to make it happen.

The application of IoT in logistics is worth considering

Using IoT in logistics is not something people should expect to achieve in a matter of weeks. People need to have enough time and financial resources to help these projects come to fruition. Getting feedback from truckers is also essential.

The examples here show how the IoT is improving trucking. These results will have the most impact when they relate directly to the identified challenges faced by professional truck drivers.

Featured image credit: provided by the author; Zetong Li; Unsplash; Thanks!

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a technical and industry journalist. She regularly covers stories about how technology is changing the industrial sector.

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