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Transportation Targeted AI Research Underway

Despite ongoing product shortages and unstable fuel costs, Canada’s still-struggling supply chain now has allies at the University of Calgary (UCalgary) and the National Research Council Canada (NRC), whose studies in artificial intelligence (AI) may lead to economic and safety improvements for the nation’s transportation industry.

Madhuri Seera Calgary’s acting manager of transportation safety, addressed how AI research may benefit her local logistics industry, which supports approximately 134,000 jobs and contributes $14+ billion to the economy annually, noting “The technological tools being developed will help us meet the goals of our Goods Movement Strategy— a road map to achieving a highly efficient network in the city as growth in the supply chain and logistics industry explodes.”

Also under consideration by researchers are Canada’s weather challenges, such as prairie blizzards and flood-related mountain landslides, along with their impact on the transportation industry.

Explained Xin Wang, PhD, a geomatics professor at the Schulich School of Engineering, “Our research is dedicated to minimizing the impact of severe weather on logistic transportation by harnessing the power of AI and machine learning. It will assist the human decision-making process and generate the best possible alternative routes (for moving goods) to minimize such impacts on society.”

Trimble customers Bison Transport and Canada Cartage are collaborating with Wang and NRC for solutions advantageous to the trucking industry (transportation’s network-based model is ideal for AI research.) Of this partnership Wang said, “We looked at more than 22 million GPS records to identify traffic patterns and driver behavior. This yielded information about how trucks are moving around the city at different times, which routes they take and so on.”

Emphasizing that the UCalgary-NRC collaboration has seen support for its public policy goals, Wang concluded, “The research and industrial experience we gain from this project can be used for national goods transportation and optimization of municipal transportation systems. It will also address national issues of importance to the Canadian economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians.”