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EquipmentNewsTechnologyWarehouse

KeepTruckin’s AI focus driving down costs for customers

Fleet management company KeepTruckin is a well-known competitor in the electronic logging device market, but over the past year is has sharpened its focus on harnessing even more data to help fleets improve safety and drive down costs.

That dedication to doing more with data generated from its vast customer network helped vault the company into top-five status among FreightWaves’ 2020 FreightTech 25 winners.

A 10th-place finisher on the 2019 FreightTech 25 list, KeepTruckin leapt to No. 5 on the most recent list, announced at FreightWaves LIVE Chicago on Nov. 13. Chosen from the FreightTech 100, FreightTech 25 highlights the most innovative and disruptive companies across the freight industry, featuring both cutting-edge upstarts and top-notch traditional powers.

“We’re super excited to be on the list again — especially moving up five spots, because all those companies are really strong,” John Sears, KeepTruckin’s senior data science manager, told FreightWaves. “It’s a testament to all the work our team has done over the past year to drive both the company as well as the industry as a whole forward.”

Two major products the San Francisco-based company released in 2019 were its Asset Gateway and its AI-powered Smart Dashcam. The Asset Gateway streamlines trailer dispatch by automatically pulling location reports so managers can pick the proper trailer to dispatch, saving the time otherwise required to manually check trailer locations. The Smart Dashcam is a dual-facing camera that records what happens on the road and in the cab. Video proof allows managers to more effectively coach drivers to improve their driving behavior.

“But on top of that, the other big bucket we’re proud of is new software features,” Sears said. “These become immediately available to our customers via the fleet manager dashboard and the driver app. We made a bunch of big jumps there.”

One software innovation Sears is particularly proud of is a facility insights feature, which gives customers the ability to drive into a particular warehouse — over 100,000 around the country are currently included — and see predicted dwell times for any day of the week, any hour of the day. The feature bases its information on objective truck location data, not user-submitted content, “which makes this extremely trustworthy information,” Sears said. “Because of the scale of the company, we’re able to build products like this.”

Sears explained that helping propel the company’s hardware and software improvements is its deep bench of data expertise. KeepTruckin has hired over 100 people to its tech team, including engineering, product and data science — and has done it by recruiting people from a lot of the top tech companies, like Google, Twitter and Uber. “We work very collaboratively. We’re not working in silos, we’re very holistic. It’s tied to a company-wide push to really build the most innovative products that directly address our users’ pain points.”

While most of the tech team is based in San Francisco, the company also has offices in Nashville, Tennessee, Chicago, and Buffalo, New York.

With more than 60,000 fleets and over 1 million registered drivers as customers, KeepTruckin is banking on its hard investment push into research and development to pay off for its latest generation of products, set to roll out over the next two to six months. Those products will consider “road context,” such as weather and time of day. Two products currently in beta testing revolve around fuel insights and safety scores.

“We’re working to build these AI-driven insights around how you improve fuel economy by looking at speeding or unnecessary braking and acceleration on the highway, and then allowing users to track those improvements over time,” Sears said.

KeepTruckin wants to leverage one of the largest networks of connected trucks in the world with a strong data tech team to figure out how to build things that continue to give its customers an edge, Sears added. “We feel we have the best data in the industry, and that will allow us to build features that no one else can replicate.”

Companies named in the FreightTech 100 were judged by an external panel of industry experts, with voting conducted and overseen by accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller. Each member of the panel ranked their top 25 companies on a 1- to 25-point basis. The companies generating the most points make up the FreightTech 25.

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John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

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