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artificial intelligence

AI likely to be used to identify common fleet documents

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The first widespread use of artificial intelligence in fleet management is likely to be to identify common documents.

That’s according to Neil Avent, IT director at FleetCheck, who explained that AI was good at looking for patterns within clearly defined boundaries, so would work well for this kind of task.

“The important factor to understand about current AI technology is that it has no innate sense of context. It works well in situations where there are a limited number of possibilities and outcomes,” said Avent.

“For example, if you give it a thousand pictures and ask it to find all the ones that include kittens, you could teach it to do this pretty effectively by providing enough examples of pictures containing a kitten.

“This is why it is likely to first find its practical use when it comes to documentation. When different sorts of document arrive into a fleet department, it could be used to simply answer a series of questions – is it an invoice? A driver’s licence? A speeding fine notification?

“AI is good at a singular type of task such as this. It can be taught to identify some of the key features of each kind of document and then place them in the appropriate queue for action with a high degree of accuracy. This saves a lot of administrative time and effort.”

However, Avent also explained that the current boundaries of AI were revealed by the fact that the technology was not currently sophisticated enough to then manage the documents.

“A separate process would be needed to know what to do with those documents in terms of the next action. That is because a more general type of software-driven intelligence, in terms of the technology available, is a long way away.

“Going back to the pictures of kittens, AI’s intelligence about kittens would end with being able to identify images. It knows nothing more about kittens than the visual characteristics of the example images containing kittens. It does not know what a kitten is.”

Several paradigm shifts would be needed before AI could take over even some quite basic fleet management processes, Avent added.

“In a sense, it is a shame that AI as a term includes the word ‘intelligence’ because it provides a very misleading picture of its capability. It has no intelligence of its own and is, in many ways, just a further development and refinement of existing IT processes that gives the illusion of intelligence to users not aware of its constraints.

“However, it does have potential for some pretty significant gains and one of the things we’ll be looking at within FleetCheck later into 2019 is how some of those can be incorporated into our fleet management software.”

Motorola splashes $445m on AI license plate tracking specialist

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Motorola Solutions has paid $445 million for VaaS International Holdings (VaaS), which provides global data image analytics for vehicle location.

The deal includes a combination of cash and equity. VaaS’s image capture and analysis platform, which includes fixed and mobile license plate reader cameras driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence, provides vehicle location data to public safety and commercial customers.

Its subsidiaries include Vigilant Solutions for law enforcement users and Digital Recognition Network (DRN) for commercial customers. The company’s 2019 revenues are expected to be approximately $100 million.

Greg Brown, chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions, said: “Automated license plate recognition is an increasingly powerful tool for law enforcement.

“VaaS will expand our command centre software portfolio with the largest shareable database of vehicle location information that can help shorten response times and improve the speed and accuracy of investigations.”

VaaS’s platform also enables controllable, audited data-sharing across multiple law enforcement agencies. Vehicle location information can help accelerate time to resolution and improve outcomes for public safety agencies, particularly when combined with police records. For example, law enforcement has used VaaS’ solutions to quickly apprehend dangerous suspects and find missing persons.

“We are very excited to be joining Motorola Solutions,” said Shawn Smith, co-founder of VaaS and president of Vigilant Solutions.

“This acquisition enables us to continue to serve our existing customers and expand our footprint globally, while at the same time supporting a company with a commitment to innovation and growth, guided by a common purpose that aligns with our mission and culture: ‘To help people be their best in the moments that matter.’ It doesn’t get any better than that.”