According to Dan Popkin, senior vice president of enterprise solutions for ALK Technologies, a near-term driving force for technological development is going to be helping the trucking industry better control the “real life experiences” affecting its operations in the here and now. As he said, he feels that will help the industry become safer and more organized- especially in the face of the eroding quality of U.S. highway infrastructure.
He said, ” What we at ALK are most concerned about right now is real life experience; that human drivers matter far more than the machines that will be doing pieces of their work in the future”.
For trucking industry today, according to Dan Popkin, there are several key “categories of core issues”.
He noticed that the truck driver’s safety is the most important thing. There are 1,800 truck rollovers per year, with 60% involving fatalities and the majority occurring on dry, straight roads.
“And two-thirds of the truck drivers involved [in those rollovers] are veterans with 10 years or more of experience,” he said. “So we are trying to mine real-time logistics data to present warnings to drivers.”
The next is the impact of weather on roadway safety. “Of the 5.748 million accidents that occurred in the U.S. last year, 22% were weather-related, leading to 6,000 fatalities and 445,000 injuries,” Popkin said. “So now we’re trying to project road conditions out 12 hours [ahead] on routes to get insight what drivers might be potentially facing on the routes they are assigned.”
The truck drivers spend an average of 108 minutes per day at shipper and receiver facilities, outside of arrival and departure check in.
“If we can free up just 30 minutes at the shipper and 30 minutes at the receiver, that gives them back an hour of time per day for driving,” Popkin explained. “An extra hour per day is an extra 50 miles per day or 12,500 extra miles per year. So creating more flexible pickup and delivery times can help increase productivity.”
He said that ALK is looking at the ability to create “street maps” within freight yards, to help optimize freight flows within them.
He also noticed that so much data is being collected now about the U.S. roadway systems that “it is virtually impossible” for a single map provider to process it all in real-time.
That’s why ALK is looking at the possible use of crowdsourcing to improve real-time mapping connections; to leverage customer data to do a better job of creating routes and do it faster as well.
“There is great potential but the data must be moderated and verified – there are issues with data vandalism,” Popkin noted.