Route optimization software is evolving rapidly, driven by cloud-based computing power, mobile applications, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). But the future is more than simply an acceleration of the current capabilities; it’s Autonomous Dispatch and Routing. This new category — a powerful system for seamlessly coordinating the movement of goods, people, and services — enables real-time dynamic routing and new business opportunities, as well.
The word ‘autonomous’ sounds futuristic, but the technology is already familiar to most consumers, with early implementations powering popular ride-sharing systems and meal delivery applications. These services take customers’ orders via mobile app, automatically assign tasks to the most suitable vehicles, factor in business rules (whether riders want to carpool to save money, or if they prefer a premium car, for example), and fulfill the order. This is Autonomous Dispatch and Routing at work.
While consumers are already benefiting from these capabilities, many transportation operations are still relying on traditional routing software to create static plans within fixed territories. This legacy approach leaves a tremendous amount of manual work to dispatchers and drivers, and constrains future business growth. In contrast, Autonomous Dispatch and Routing automates the complex and dynamic decision-making process that fast-moving transportation operations require to efficiently meet their performance and business goals.
As Autonomous Dispatch and Routing software evolves, it brings increasing levels of automation and increasing opportunity. In the future, Autonomous Dispatch and Routing will provide fully automated ordering, packing, and routing — with connected systems — that seamlessly take orders, identify the optimal vehicle type, operate within all known order constraints, then prepare and deliver the order for any industry and any scenario. That future isn’t here yet, but the foundations are being put into place and the framework is established.
Just as autonomous vehicles (AVs) are characterized by five clearly defined levels of progressively sophisticated automation, so are Autonomous Dispatch and Routing systems. In the case of AVs, the range spans from Level 0, meaning no automation and described as ‘your parents’ station wagon,’ to Level 5, where fully autonomous vehicles can adapt to every possible driving scenario and condition just as a human does, including extreme conditions.
In Autonomous Dispatch and Routing software, Level 0 refers to traditional, fully manual planning and route building, where drivers manage their own sequences and dispatchers have no visibility into their drivers’ performance. At Level 5, scheduling and dispatching is fully autonomous, with all orders automatically scheduled and dispatched optimally without any human involvement required in any scenario or use case. The interesting ground is in between, as the solutions take shape and organizations apply them to their industries.
If you’re interested in learning more about Autonomous Dispatch and Routing and understanding where your organization is in the continuum, please download Wise Systems’ new white paper here.