A review on new technologies impacting road freight transportation

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School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
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Tieto- ja palvelujohtaminen
Trucking industry is in the verge of changes. There are several different trending technologies coming to disrupt the transportation industry. Trucking is one of the key parts of global logistics and it has problems being difficult job and causing accidents, congestions and air pollution. This study answers to questions such as what new technologies there are influencing the trucking industry, what are the challenges of those, what is the current state of them and how are they already been used, and finally what possibilities they have. Autonomy, edge computing, 5g and artificial intelligence are the four technologies that this study inspects closer. Because the nature of this research is the relevancy now and these are new technologies, the literature chosen is also current and relevant. The main challenges in autonomous vehicles are safety, regulators, security, infrastructure, the last mile deliveries and integration globally. There are few cases where level 4 of autonomy has been reached in some limits. Google and Tesla are one of the leaders in developing autonomous vehicle. There could be a lot of savings in driver costs, but also energy savings and fewer accidents, if fully autonomous trucks are taken to use. Rest of the technologies have a same kind of challenges regarding safety, regulations, security and infrastructure. Edge computing is the newest of these and the most uncompleted with development. Thus far one challenge is simply getting enough compute power. Edge computing can be used to route optimization and TidalWave is already using it in the US for that. Edge computing can also be solutions for trucks connecting to each other and help autonomous driving. Unique challenge of 5g is getting it in wide usage. It has smaller range than 4g and a lot of sensors have to be built to the infrastructure in order it to work. 5g is an enabler for autonomous vehicles and edge computing because it gives connection needed for them. 5g can be used to already mentioned connecting vehicles to each other and to infrastructure. Company called Qualcomm have already started to use 5g for connecting vehicles to everything. Connectivity can help with route planning, decrease congestions and improve safety. Apart from same challenges than other, AI has its own challenges in ethics and public fear. Autonomous vehicle manufacturers utilize AI in their systems. Also, route optimization is possible with AI and Valerann is one case company for that. Hitachi uses AI for predictive maintenance. With all these technologies together, the costs saved, and efficiency improved is significant for the trucking industry. Also, overall safety improves. Besides that, future road transport can be a key to be one step closer for saving the planet from climate change.
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Tinnilä, Markku
autonomy, 5G, edge computing, AI
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