- Trailer Capacity Assessment: calculation of free load space using smartphone images and algorithms in the cloud
- Digital solution enables not only higher utilization and productivity but also an active contribution to more sustainability
- Sustainability, safe and fair transport, data-based services, connected vehicle: Continental presents comprehensive technology portfolio at IAA
Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany, July 28, 2022. At this year's IAA TRANSPORTATION, the technology company Continental will be presenting (Hall 12, Booth C29) a broad portfolio of products, technologies and digital solutions relating to sustainability, connected commercial vehicles, data-based services as well as safe and fair transport. Under the motto "Mastering Challenges. Seizing Opportunities. Together.", visitors to the Continental booth can expect to see numerous innovations, including intelligent driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions, all-round connected components, services for greater compliance, high-performance computing, and sustainable tires for the commercial vehicle sector. The most important leading trade fair for logistics, commercial vehicles, buses and the transport sector will take place this year in Hanover, Germany, from September 20 to 25.
One highlight will be an AI-based solution for calculating the available cargo space in trucks, semitrailers and trailers. This provides fleet managers via smartphone with precise digital information on how much cargo can still be loaded. In combination with the corresponding weight data from the intelligent tachograph or the fleet management system interface, dispatch can be optimized – for example, by offering free capacity on digital freight exchanges so that more routes are run at full capacity. “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 Smart Mobility business area 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.”
Journeys in which the cargo space is not fully utilized or even completely unloaded journeys 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 underutilized loads. Fleet managers can counteract these 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 space that is still available, the latter of which is provided by the new solution in real-time.
Drivers, ramp agents and fleet managers can use the solution easily: After securing the load, the driver takes a photo of the cargo area 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 telematics software from the FMS interface.
“This means that the dispatcher now has precise and reliable load data in his system – data that is 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 have 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.”
At the IAA TRANSPORTATION, visitors to the Continental booth (Hall 12, Booth C29) will not only experience the Trailer Capacity Assessment, but also many other solutions for the major challenges of the mobile future in freight transport.