Digital decision-making is transforming fleet operations as repetitive tasks are delegated to computers while managers focus on high-value assignments. John Maslen reports.

The astonishing footage of the Perseverance rover landing on Mars provided an example to the world of the power of automated decision-making.

Following its 128-million mile journey to the red planet, the critical task of deploying the rover and landing it safely was handled autonomously, while humans kept watch from Earth.

This is the pinnacle of robotic engineering that has already seen SpaceX rockets return vertically to their launch pad dozens of times after deploying payloads into space.

Space flight is the most high-profile example of how far autonomous technology has advanced, but our lives are shaped every day by much more subtle examples.

Everything from email filters to the social media posts we see and the films that streaming services recommend are provided without human interaction through intelligent processes.

In cars, humans now trust an increasing number of functions to autonomous computers, from satellite navigation directions to steering and braking.

At its most basic level, the technology supports resource allocation to provide faster, more consistent decisions, while ensuring human operators are not overloaded and making mistakes.

Its potential in the fleet sector has already been proved through specialist routing software for couriers and taxis, which can even allocate a driver’s final job of the day so that it is on their way home. The technology
also plays a vital role in approving maintenance requests by analysing data to ensure costs and the parts required are within expected parameters.

As the stunning Mars milestone shows, the sky is the limit when it comes to autonomous technology and it will play a key role in shaping the future of transport with an increasing focus on Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

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