You’ve probably seen plenty of scary stories about how retailers like Amazon have been aggressively using artificial intelligence-driven cameras in their delivery trucks to track drivers. Like any technology, AI in fleet management can potentially become disruptive if it isn’t deployed carefully. Let’s take a look at how you can get the benefits of AI without some of the drawbacks. 

What is AI in Fleet Management?

Artificial intelligence (AI) pulls together vast amounts of data to help fleet managers make more informed decisions. For example, the AI built into GPS Trackit’s video telematics system constantly monitors a driver’s behavior and compares it to a database full of examples of potentially distracted behavior. When the system senses a driver could be distracted—say, by looking at a phone or yawning repeatedly—it can provide an audible warning to help the driver focus. Generally speaking, using data collected by video, GPS, and engine management systems to predict behavior and reduce risk is considered “AI.”   


How can AI in Fleet Management Help Your Business?

AI-driven video telematics systems help track vehicle location, speed, mileage, engine performance, and more across an entire fleet. With that information, fleet managers can optimize routes—and even make on-the-fly modifications due to real-time job status, traffic, and weather reports. In addition to saving time and money on fuel costs, telematics systems can also monitor driver behavior such as speeding or idling too long at a stoplight—which improves safety, reduces vehicle wear and tear, and cuts accident costs. AI in fleet management can also dramatically improve vehicle maintenance by detecting patterns and trends in fuel economy and other performance that would otherwise go unnoticed. By using predictive analytics, AI can detect problems before they become serious issues that lead to downtime or costly repairs. 


What are Some Risks of AI?

If an AI-driven monitoring system is too intrusive and aggressive, it can lead to unhappy employees. It’s easy to see why it would be valuable to know if your fleet vehicles are being driven to locations you didn’t approve. Making a driver feel as if he or she is being constantly surveilled through an entire shift could easily be seen as excessive. Having a video record of an incident can protect your driver and your company. Penalizing drivers for touching the radio while a vehicle is moving could lead to increased turnover. Striking the appropriate balance is the key to both ensuring safety and keeping valuable team members. 


How Do You Effectively Communicate Your AI Policies?

Getting drivers on the same page means building a good plan and keeping two-way communication open surrounding it so there’s no mystery or misunderstanding. Avoid legalese or jargon, and state the basics in plain English so that everyone can understand what’s being monitored, why you need that information, and what is expected. Getting buy-in at the beginning is crucial. No one likes feeling like they are being spied on or controlled, so sit down with your crews and create an open dialog. You’ll probably find team members are just as interested in safety and efficiency as you are. Programs that recognize and reward the behavior you want are also common across the most successful fleet companies. 


Need help figuring out how AI and fleet management can work for you? Our experienced Fleet Advisors can build you a customized demo and walk you through the entire implementation. Schedule your free consultation today