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How Technology Is Reshaping Shipping And Logistics

May 10
9:07 PM 2019

The digital era is finding itself defined by ceaseless innovation and the constant disruption of industries beset by technological change, with few areas finding themselves as fundamentally overhauled in recent years as shipping and logistics. Despite the digital tide of change that's swept over the field of shipping and logistics recently, however, many entrepreneurs and corporate professionals are sorely under informed when it comes to the latest developments that are reshaping the modern world.

Here's how technology is reshaping shipping and logistics, and how the future of the economy is going to keep finding itself dictated by ceaseless digital innovation.

Our roadways are rapidly changing

The world of shipping is in for a radical revolution thanks to the rise of autonomous vehicles, which are proving that self-driving trucks can steer cargo from Point A to Point B with little issue. Driverless vehicles aren't merely cheaper than human-operated trucks, they're also substantially safer, with plenty of reasons to foresee the future of America's roadway as being drastically safer than they currently are. One of the most obvious signs that smart, self-driving vehicles are redefining the future of shipping and logistics is the rise of autonomous vehicle corridors around the country, which hope to propel driverless vehicles from the fringes of society into the mainstream.

An autonomous vehicle corridor is being planned in Florida, for instance, with a public-private partnership underway that could make driverless vehicles a regular feature of our roadways much sooner than many initially expected. In other states like Ohio, localities, the state and federal government, and private businesses are also teaming up for an autonomous vehicle corridor focused on trucking. This is by far one of the most exciting technological developments to disrupt the world of shipping and logistics in recent years, as it's not unrealistic to say we'll soon have entire infrastructure projects centered on self-driving trucks that ship quicker and cheaper than human drivers ever could.

Self-driving vehicles and special autonomous corridors are being championed for good reasons. These self-driving vehicles can form into aerodynamic fleets that are fuel efficient and timely, which human drivers could never do without the risk of a huge accident. Outside of autonomous vehicles, other technological developments also promise to upend shipping and logistics as we presently understand them.

AI is changing cargo shipping

Self-driving trucks may be generating a buzz, but the bulk of the world's shipping services still take place on cargo ships on the open seas. Nevertheless, you'd be forgiven for thinking that trucks were more important given all the media attention autonomous corridors have been generating lately. In recent years, however, people are finally beginning to wake up to how cargo shipping is becoming radically disrupted by technological developments, namely the introduction of artificial intelligence which can expedite the entire shipping process from start to finish.

AI and cargo shipping are combining to reshape global maritime trade, largely by automating shipping processes that once demanded human oversight. The more mundane aspects of shipping are now being totally managed by intelligent machines, which frees up human expertise so that everyday employees can focus on more crucial areas of interest. Alongside of artificial intelligence, the growth of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) is also changing how many professionals view shipping and logistics going forward.

The IoT is remodeling the supply chain landscape, for instance, with the modern world being deeply embedded with literally billions of sensors that collect and generate huge sums of data. With the IoT freeing up manual resources and making the supply chain landscape more efficient than ever before, businesses everywhere can expect to receive the products they need sooner than ever before and at a lower cost. Similarly, the IoT's growth is ensuring that modern infrastructure projects are deeply technical endeavors replete with literally millions of sensors. Modern bridges, roads, and docks are assembled with sensors that can detect infrastructure decay, for instance, so future shipping operations won't have to worry so much about wear and tear.

Software is taking over everything

Perhaps the most notable way that tech is reshaping shipping and logistics is by introducing software into nearly every facet of the business process. Shipping tracking systems are now commonplace, with autonomous vehicles also needing clever software to operate in the first place. Similarly, sensory-laden infrastructure can only be studied with clever engineering software, making the development of better software an imperative for the future of the field of shipping and logistics.

The rise of intelligent vehicles, sensory-laden infrastructure, intelligent machines and more are challenging professionals trying to expedite the shipping and logistics process. These emerging technologies are immensely promising despite all the disruption they bring, though, and it would be foolish to view recent technological trends in a negative way. As it's becoming increasingly clear to see, technology is making shipping and logistics easier to conquer than ever before.

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