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      Press Release
      July 06, 2022

      Artificial Intelligence Load Booster – Continental Develops Digital Solution for Cargo Space Calculation

      • Digital calculation of available cargo space – with an app instead of a fixed infrastructure
      • Algorithms in the Continental Cloud calculate the remaining available cargo space based on smartphone image data
      • The digital solution does not only support the utilization and productivity of the fleet, but also the active contribution to more sustainability in the transport sector

      Villingen-Schwenningen, July 6, 2022. The technology company Continental has developed an AI-based solution for calculating the available cargo space in trucks, semitrailers and trailers. It provides the fleet managers via smartphone with precise digital information on how much cargo can still be loaded. Dispatch tasks can be optimized and routes with reduced loads avoided when used together with the relevant weight data from the smart tachograph or from the fleet management system interface – for example by offering the free cargo space on digital freight exchanges. This, in turn, will help to increase the number of trips with full capacity utilization. “The logistics industry is currently facing major challenges. More and more freight has to be transported with fewer and fewer drivers,” says Dr. Ismail Dagli, Head of the business area Smart Mobility at Continental. “Our solution not only supports fleet managers in optimally utilizing their transport capacities to make their fleets more efficient, it also saves fuel and reduces carbon emissions, actively contributing to greater sustainability in logistics.”

      Fleet efficiency is a major challenge

      Trips with only a partial load (less than a truckload, LTL) and even empty trucks are not uncommon in the freight transport world. According to official freight transport statistics collected annually by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, commercial vehicles of over 3.5 tons made more than 150 million empty trips in Germany in 2020 – and that figure doesn’t even include partial loads. Fleet managers can counteract these LTL trips by actively seeking additional freight orders to improve vehicle utilization. To do this, however, they need the relevant data indicating the vehicle’s current position, loaded weight and the cargo area that is still available, the latter of which is provided by the new solution in real-time.

      Fast and easy: estimate free cargo space in seconds

      Drivers, ramp agents and fleet managers can use the solution easily: After securing the load, the driver takes a photo of the cargo area in the truck, trailer or semitrailer with a standard smartphone. The photo is then uploaded to the Continental Cloud, where the actual ‘thinking’ takes place – in other words, the calculation of the available cargo space by the AI algorithm developed by Continental. The driver can also use his smartphone to edit the information manually or add additional information before he uploads it to the Secure Cloud. After that, the data can be forwarded to the dispatch software. Good connectivity provided, this process only takes a few seconds. The fleet manager can then optimally coordinate additional loads using the data on the available loading weight, which, for example, he receives from the intelligent tachograph via the VDO Link or via classic telematic software from the FMS interface.

      “This means that the dispatcher now has precise and reliable load data in his system – data that’s not simply based on an estimate. The load capacity can then be offered on freight markets or can be internally distributed, especially in the case of larger fleets,” says Jörg Lützner, who is Head of Continental’s Smart Mobility Innovation Management and responsible for the development of the Trailer Capacity Assessment. “Technologically, the AI we use is based on the years of experience we’ve gained in many driver assistance and autonomous driving projects.” The prototype has already delivered excellent results during the development phase of around two years, and the team is now looking forward to receiving even more data from real-life: “That’s the advantage of being able to use artificial intelligence,” says Jörg Lützner. “It learns every time we use it, so it always gets better.”

      Service-based solutions of the future

      Continental sees itself as a professional partner for its customers in the fleet business, constantly developing meaningful solutions for future challenges. The technology company is one of the world’s largest suppliers of electronics, sensors and software in the mobility industry. The Trailer Capacity Assessment is part of this cutting-edge service portfolio, designed to accompany transportation industry customers on their route to digitalization and sustainable logistics.

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