Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Redefining trucking through voice-assisted technology

Ramprasad Renganathan
Data Modeler

Innovative fleets have been using predictive analytics to gain key business insights into what causes accidents or voluntary driver turnover. In today’s digital era, combining predictive modeling with voice-assisted technology is a powerful new way to increase fleet efficiencies. 

Leading national flatbed carrier P&S Transportation has been using Omnitracs’ driver retention model for three years, decreasing turnover by 10 percent. With a desire to save time and stay on the cutting edge, executives at P&S Transportation turned to the same Omnitracs analytics team that built this model to build an Amazon Alexa skill, the Ivi (phonetically "Ivy") Fleet Manager. Developed as a private skill for P&S Transportation, the technology allows executives to more easily access fleet data and gather company performance information through an Alexa device anywhere, any time.

Instead of logging into company systems and manually looking up information, the carrier can now simply ask an Alexa device a series of questions related to shipping and delivery revenue, completed dispatches, accidents and related costs, recent driver turnover, and more. Through the Ivi Fleet Manager, P&S Transportation can immediately assess and adjust operations as needed — saving a significant amount of time and money.

Explosion of voice-assisted technology

Today, verbally interacting with technology is common. Voice assistants help us shop, get the weather, play music, find directions, and perform many other everyday activities. The Invoca report, “The Rise of Voice,” predicted voice assistant usage to grow by nearly 130 percent last year. 

More and more industries, from banking to education, are seeing the impact of this technology. Some public transportation companies use voice platforms to help with booking and finding routes. Last year, Omnitracs predicted that voice-assisted technology was about to have a major impact on the transportation industry. Earlier this year, Penske announced a voice assistance service tool to help technicians with fleet preventive maintenance. 

Competing among innovators like NASDAQ and Ticketmaster, Omnitracs won last year’s Amazon- and Automated Insights-sponsored Alexa hackathon with a system that allows users to ask Alexa questions related to driver performance, pulling insights from Omnitracs’ telematics data. Following the event, the Omnitracs Data and Analytics team worked with P&S Transportation executives to create the Ivi Fleet Manager skill. 

What’s next

It’s evident that voice-assisted technology can drastically improve operations for employees beyond the management level. As voice technology continues to develop, we’re going to see additional business applications, such as its potential impact on the role of the driver.  

Currently, if an operator wants to access vehicle data, they need to pull off the road and log into multiple systems to sift through the information. However, with a voice assistant, drivers will no longer be required to interrupt their trips to collect and analyze GPS-, performance-, or load management-based data. Instead, the technology will provide them in-the-moment insights, in a faster, easier, and more accurate manner. 

The automotive industry already shows promise for AI digital assistants. AI leader Nvidia worked with Mercedes-Benz on its newly-unveiled infotainment system, which relies on voice control and an algorithm to customize rides to drivers’ music preferences. Nvidia technology will also enable voice recognition in the upcoming electric car I.D. Buzz, with the goal of improving safety and the driver experience. 

This technology has many implications for driver experience as well as autonomous vehicles. In the meantime, managers should consider ways voice-assisted technology can increase fleet efficiencies. P&S Transportation has taken that step with their new Amazon Alexa skill. 

Learn more about Omnitracs’ predictive analytics solutions here.