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AI in transportation: 3 ways it’s transforming the industry

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AI is revolutionizing the transportation sector, offering solutions to enhance efficiency, optimize logistics, and gain a competitive edge.

Imagine eliminating disruptions from traffic jams, parking woes, and vehicle breakdowns. It may seem like science fiction, but this is the future of AI in transportation.

We know what you’re thinking — fully autonomous vehicles are always a year away. While we can’t tell you when you’ll be able to watch a TV show during your commute, there are many ways AI is quietly revolutionizing the transportation sector, offering commercial enterprises cutting-edge solutions to enhance efficiency, optimize logistics, and gain a competitive edge in an increasingly dynamic market landscape.

Learn some of the most impactful yet overlooked ways it’s doing so.

1. Next-gen predictive maintenance

Unexpected vehicle breakdowns are a major operational disruption that commercial fleets strive to avoid at all costs. Being stranded on the side of the road not only impacts delivery timelines but also tarnishes customer experience and profitability.

What’s frustrating is that in many instances, these failures could have been predicted and prevented ahead of time.

That’s why predictive maintenance is one of the most exciting applications of AI technology in transportation. By analyzing real-time data from vehicle sensors, AI systems can alert fleet managers when a vehicle requires maintenance.

This proactive approach helps mitigate unplanned downtime, extend asset lifecycles, and optimize the total cost of ownership.

While predictive maintenance alerts are already providing peace of mind for individual vehicle owners, the impact is exponentially greater for commercial transportation operations where uptime, safety, and efficiency are paramount.

Imagine a fleet of delivery trucks that avoid nearly all unexpected breakdowns. By predicting when maintenance is needed, AI systems allow logistics managers to proactively swap out vehicles before they become stranded. This minimizes delays and keeps the entire operation running smoothly.

2. Dynamic traffic management systems

Congested freeways are a major headache for cities around the globe. Along with being stressful for commuters, traffic jams crimp economic activity — the World Economic Forum found lost productivity from traffic congestion costs the U.S. tens of billions of dollars annually.

AI transportation is helping here, too. Through a network of cameras and sensors that analyze traffic flows, AI can ease congestion by adjusting traffic signals as necessary.

For instance, if it identifies a stretch of road that’s particularly congested due to an accident or just rush hour traffic, it can dynamically adjust traffic signals to optimize flow.

Infrastructure solutions firm HNTB highlighted several examples of state transportation departments exploring this use case:

  • The Virginia Department of Transportation, in partnership with Audi, “is leveraging AI to analyze travel data to monitor emerging conditions and recommend plans for coordination to reduce congestion, incidents and traffic events. Their AI solution predicts the impact of disruptions to the transportation network and provides automation to the coordinated response options.”
  • The Florida Department of Transportation “is using AI to inventory all traffic control devices throughout a 26-mile roadway corridor. Its trained AI model collects corridor 360-degree imagery and generates a complete inventory of traffic control devices, including traffic signals and signs detailing their locations, types and condition status.”

These experiments are still in the initial stages, but early results are promising. AI-powered traffic systems are already making roads safer and less congested and stand to do so on a much bigger scale in the near future.

Read also: Top 3 business metrics of generative ai

3. Safer roads for drivers and pedestrians

Roads have become demonstrably safer thanks to initiatives like seatbelt requirements, speed limits, and bans on drunk driving. That being said, more than 40,000 Americans still died in motor vehicle crashes in 2023, and pedestrian deaths have risen 14% since 2019.

The good news is AI and related technologies have shown significant promise in improving road safety. For instance, smart transportation technology like Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) provides real-time driving aids like collision avoidance, lane departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control.

The AI algorithms that power ADAS use cutting-edge techniques like computer vision and deep machine learning to help avoid crashes.

The Highway Loss Data Institute compared data from vehicles with and without ADAS and found that those equipped with the technology experienced:

  • 50% fewer front-to-rear crashes
  • 27% fewer pedestrian crashes
  • 14% fewer lane-change crashes

Equipping new vehicles with technology like ADAS could help reverse the trend of increasing pedestrian deaths. In the longer term, though, AI could make roads an order of magnitude safer through autonomous vehicle technology.

Related: Is your business AI-ready?

The road ahead will be powered by AI, literally

These are just a few of the ways that AI is upending transportation as we know it. As the technology continues to improve, new use cases will open up that we can’t imagine today.

For transportation executives, these changes can be both exciting and intimidating. With a partner like Lumenalta, you can step into an AI-powered future with confidence.

Whether you’re looking to boost efficiency across your fleet or improve traffic flow in your district, our deep bench of AI specialists is here to craft custom software solutions according to your specific needs.

What do you have to lose? Reach out to Lumenalta today and let us help you step into the future of AI in transportation.

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