Truck operators were early adopters of digital maps when GPS first became commercially available. When traffic data was added to the mix, freight companies were the first again to create better routes for more efficient shipping. Likewise, our Custom Location Extension will usher in a new wave of planning tools for drivers and fleets.
You’re already familiar with point-to-point mapping. You likely have a device in your pocket right this moment that can detect where you are, and tell you how to get to another selected location. That app may even give you options if you want to drive, walk or take public transit.
While that’s a pretty amazing accomplishment compared to just a decade ago, it falls well short of the needs that logistics planners and truck operators require to operate efficiently and profitably in the modern world. To provide what those planners and drivers need, we use what we call Custom Location Extension, or CLE for short.
A vehicle operator needs access to all the existing map data available on digital platforms. They require locations, routes, traffic data, road conditions and more, all being constantly checked and updated in near real time.
On top of that, trucking operators need the ability to create their own custom set of locations. Drivers need a database of company warehouses, preferred gas stations, weigh stations, drop off points, maintenance facilities and a lot more. Additionally, fleet operators need to be able to build that database and share it across their fleet in an information layer that only they can access.
There are several mapping services that provide these types of services to their customers. However, applying solutions that intelligently combine the maps, routes and locations has been left to the customers. In other words, fleet managers who specialize in transport and delivery can be suddenly tasked with hiring in software engineers to build custom algorithms that put the data together intelligently.
HERE is familiar with the pain points that fleet managers and drivers experience every day. The latest updates to our platform provide out-of-the-box solutions for those pain points.
Custom Location Extension to the rescue. CLE makes it easy for customers to manage their database of custom defined places and polygons while displaying them on the map. On top of that it gives access to intelligent search algorithms such as bounding box search, search along a corridor, proximity and attribute search. In addition, one search capability that truly stands out the most for logistics, is the isoline search.
While other search tools in the market, provide a list of locations in the proximity (fly distance) of a route, an isoline search along the route provides all reachable custom locations within a specified time and distance along the full route of the vehicle. What’s the difference? Isoline search along the route considers the actual HERE road network to make exact calculations. Existing corridor search solutions list the custom locations within a certain proximity, with no estimation on how long it will take a driver to get there.
The real-world example.
A truck is driving along the highway. The driver realizes that they need to make a stop for additional cargo at one of their warehouses.
In an average system, the fleet mapping solution may provide the driver with a map of their custom locations, and give the straight route to that station along with some traffic data.
That station may or may not be the best option. What’s needed to determine the best choice is an intelligent algorithm that gives the driver the exact trip information, and enables them to make the best decision mindful of a particular driver time and reachable distance from their current position.
Using this same example, the driver needs to make a sudden stop at one of its warehouse facilities for additional cargo. A smart application identifies that the nearest warehouse is 2 miles away. However, rerouting to that warehouse will add 20 total minutes to their drive time. An intelligent system will inform the driver that there’s a better option – a warehouse 6 miles away that will only add 5 total minutes to their drive time. This intelligent system can only do that if it uses smart algorithms to make such precise and complex calculations like the ones CLE provides.
This is the core offering of Custom Location Extension, and it scales well beyond this simple example. Consider similar examples, but add in necessary data such as maximum hours of service for the driver. Factor in when warehouses and drop-off points are closed for the day. If, while taking a certain route, can a system tell the driver what his maximum detour time is before he may miss his appointment several hours later?
These are the friction points that we know logistics planners and truck operators face every day, and we’re pleased to announce our out-of-the-box solutions for our partners. You can find out more about CLE at developer.here.com.