News Snippets, Technology

Fujitsu, SMU, A*STAR’s I2R & UrbanFox launch field trial using AI to improve e-commerce delivery

Fujitsu Limited, Singapore Management University (SMU), A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and UrbanFox Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Keppel Logistics, today announced that they have signed an agreement to collaborate on a field trial which leverages leading edge technologies to resolve manpower shortages in the logistics industry in Singapore. The trial will utilise a dedicated smartphone app that offers AI-driven delivery recommendations to crowdsourced delivery personnel (Delivery Partners).

UrbanFox is an end-to-end urban logistics provider whose solutions suite includes dynamic logistics support powered by a unique crowdsourcing model1 for last-mile deliveries. UrbanFox is committed to developing innovative ways to adapt to Singapore’s rapidly changing logistics landscape, characterised by a growing demand for deliveries from e-commerce purchases.

At 5.4%, the country has the highest online share of retail sales among Southeast Asia’s five top economies. The e- commerce trend shows no signs of abating – UrbanFox currently handles thousands of deliveries per day and the number of deliveries more than double during peak seasons like Singles’ Day.

As delivery volumes continue to grow in tandem with e-commerce, smarter solutions are needed for its crowdsourced delivery personnel (Delivery Partners) to choose optimal delivery jobs from the huge volume of delivery orders available, taking into consideration such factors as efficient delivery routing.

With the Asian e-commerce market predicted to expand rapidly in the next five years, one potential solution will be to utilise AI to help keep pace with the expected increase in delivery orders. Fujitsu, SMU and A*STAR’s I2R will be collaborating closely with UrbanFox on a joint trial that will test and evaluate technologies which are intended to optimise the assignment of delivery jobs to each Delivery Partner.

Summary of the Joint Trial

In this trial, Fujitsu, SMU and A*STAR’s I2R will work together to incorporate AI technology into a system that recommends delivery jobs and delivery routes optimised to Delivery Partners, with the goal of improving the productivity of delivery tasks.

During the test bedding phase, which will begin in September 2018, the organisations will analyse order data that is managed by UrbanFox, such as the geolocation data of Delivery Partners as well as their past delivery performance. This data will then be matched with the requirements for delivery, and recommendation of the most efficient Delivery Partner will be given. Ultimately, about 30 Delivery Partners are expected to participate in real world deliveries over the course of the trial.

Delivery Partners can choose whether to accept the recommended delivery assignments, and the organisations will conduct machine learning on those decisions, continually improving the accuracy of recommendations.

Utilising AI to enhance productivity

A*STAR’s I2R will incorporate its proprietary AI-enabled descriptive and predictive analysis algorithms into the system to optimise the delivery process. By leveraging AI, the system will also be able to provide insights into delivery trends for an area. This results in the system being able to provide predictions on delivery demands for an area based on past deliveries and events such as sales.

When an order is received, the algorithm will first review the delivery requirements, such as size of the item and delivery route. At the same time, a trade-off analysis will also be performed on the data of Delivery Partners with UrbanFox to determine if it is more efficient to use a delivery partner, or the company’s own delivery fleet. This will help optimise the delivery process.

SMU will conduct research on an AI-based recommendation approach to automatically suggest bundles of delivery tasks that are most suitable for each Delivery Partner. These recommendations will be personalised and dynamic, reflecting personal preferences and real-time status of both the delivery personnel and the delivery demands.

Dispatch planning technology developed by Fujitsu over many years will be subsequently leveraged to set delivery plans and calculate efficient delivery routes, notifying Delivery Partners of the recommendations through this app.

Integrating the insights and expertise gained through this joint trial, Fujitsu will consider incorporating this job recommendation functionality into a dedicated service for logistics companies in the future.

Future Prospects

The four organisations will use this joint trial as a model case for future expansion in Singapore, as well as to other countries in Asia.

Depending on the trial results, UrbanFox will be considering a full-scale implementation of this system for all its Delivery Partners.

Fujitsu will develop solutions based on the insights and expertise gained from this trial for use by delivery businesses globally, and will propose those solutions to its customers.

Previous ArticleNext Article