Just as greenhouse gas emissions fell during the early months of the pandemic, emission levels may return to normal as lockdowns, restrictions and border closures begin to ease again.
Transport operators need to start thinking about how to reduce their carbon footprints in the medium to long term.
Fleets that use AI-enabled telematics platforms will be a step ahead, as the technology helps businesses to make manageable and meaningful inroads into reducing environmental impacts.
How AI is making a difference
Everyone is busy. It’s all too easy for the focus on reducing your carbon footprint to get lost in the shuffle.
While reducing emissions is a big picture goal that needs to be driven by people in senior and director level roles, the staff that are tasked to work on achieving these goals are busy with day-to-day operations.
These tasks include compliance requirements, scheduling, and everything else that keeps a transport company on the road.
AI helps keep the focus on emissions by introducing additional efficiency to reporting processes.
In the past you would have to manually investigate specific issues, such as idle time, speed events or harsh driving. AI-driven platforms are less reliant on an individual discovering an issue and spending hours of time to manually investigate it.
Thanks to natural language voice search, advanced visualisation techniques and the adoption of machine learning (ML) principles, operators can discover problem areas and drill down to solve the issues. To make an environmental difference with AI, all you need to do is ask the right question.
Idle time and driver behaviour
AI assists in reducing waste and improving efficiency across your operations.
The key area of impact is idling and driver downtime.
Traffic congestion in urban areas is unlikely to be solved any time soon and sitting in traffic during peak-hour is a massive fuel waster and CO2 creator.
However, AI-equipped telematics platforms show organisations when and where excessive idling is occurring, suggesting new routes that help to avoid peak hour and congested roads, cutting down on emissions and wastage.
AI also assists in addressing driver behaviour behind the wheel.
Smart language search functionality helps users to easily locate inefficiencies to turn problems into opportunities, like driver behavioural issues on the road.
It’s easy to find examples of harsh braking, fast cornering or speed limit breaches and tailgating, all of which burn unnecessary fuel, as well as being unsafe for everyone on the road.
Once you’ve found them, you can have a constructive conversation with drivers, educating them and reducing emissions to boot.
Route planning and maintenance
While route planning has been a staple of GPS-enabled telematics platforms for some time now, AI is taking it to new levels.
AI and ML highlight patterns in your route planning that you may not be aware of. You can then discover more efficient routes for your vehicles, which means less time spent on the road, burning fuel and releasing harmful emissions.
Less kilometres means less fuel and less CO2. Shortening the distance vehicles must travel to complete their routes and return to the depot also means less wear and tear on engines.
By combining routes and optimising the days a vehicle needs to be on the road, operators can take more control of their emissions, saving money, decreasing maintenance requirements, and reducing pollution.
AI and ML-based platforms also provide much needed assistance to identify and address maintenance issues with vehicles by automatically bringing potential faults to your attention as they arise. The quicker a transport operator can identify issues and assign a work order to fix them, the quicker additional pollutants are being reduced.
A collective responsibility
AI-powered telematics platforms are the next logical step in tackling environmental impact for the transport industry.
They make the job of back-office staff easier by collecting and presenting the information that operators need to make real change within their organisations.
Change that will make a difference to many generations to come.
About the author: Andrew Rossington joined Teletrac Navman in February 2016, working first as Vice President of Transport Solutions before becoming Vice President, Next Generation Platform. In his role, Andrew is responsible with the development of Teletrac Navman’s strategic platform TN360, and its surrounding applications.