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Despite radical advances in technology, many companies still plan routes for their delivery trucks the same way they did a decade ago. Managers create itineraries the day before, and then hand printouts to drivers to follow or add them to the hand-held devices that their drivers carry at their hip.

盡管科技有了翻天覆地的發展,但許多公司為送貨卡車規劃路線的方式仍然和十年前一樣。負責人前一天定好路線,并把打印的路線圖交給司機,或是把它們傳到司機褲子后面口袋放著的手機里。

But when drivers get stuck in traffic jams while on their rounds, they’re simply out of luck and behind schedule. The same thing happens if there’s a surprise snowstorm that makes roads impassable.

不過如果司機在路上陷入堵車,他們只能怪運氣不好,導致晚點。如果出現了意外的暴風雪導致道路無法通行,結果也是一樣。

In short, the routes are inflexible.

簡而言之,這些路線太不靈活了。

But Wise Systems, a Boston startup, is tackling this age-old problem by pairing machine learning with data it collects from drivers’ mobile phones. It crunches information like the driver’s speed and GPS location with other details including traffic, weather, where the order is being delivered, and when customers are available to receive their orders.

不過波士頓的初創公司Wise Systems正在讓機器學習來自司機手機中的數據,借此解決這個年代久遠的問題。它會綜合考慮駕駛速度、GPS定位以及包括交通路況、天氣、訂單目的地、客戶收貨時間等細節。

What emerges is a delivery route that can be tweaked on the fly depending on any complications that come up. If the technology determines that a driver will miss a scheduled stop because of road closures, for example, it will adjust the schedule for the entire day. If that’s not possible, the driver will receive alerts on his or her mobile phone as a not-so subtle hint to pick up the pace. (Red is not a good sign.)

最后生成的就是可以根據任何狀況隨時調整的送貨路線。如果這項技術判定司機會因為道路關閉等因素無法按計劃抵達,就會調整全天的日程。如果無法調整,司機就會在手機上收到明顯的警告,提醒需要加快送貨速度。(紅色說明這不是個好的提醒。)

The goal is to create routes that allow drivers to work more efficiently. By doing so, companies can save money by increasing the number of deliveries that drivers can make during shifts while also making customers happier by improving the likelihood that orders will arrive on time, or by the driver they prefer.

這項技術旨在繪制路線,提高司機的工作效率。如此一來,公司可以通過提高司機一趟的送貨量來節約成本,同時還能通過提高訂單準點率或由客戶偏好的司機運送的概率,從而取悅客戶。