Road conditions forecast targets safety, on-time delivery

If a company operates 100 trucks, it has scores of drivers travelling down the road checking the weather forecast – at their start point, along the route, and destination. Conditions can change quickly, and danger lurks around the next bend. Knowing road conditions ahead of time can save lives and prevent loss and damage of freight and equipment.

(Photo: Weatherlogics)

Now what if that information was available a week in advance?

Weatherlogics has that information and is conducting a pilot program this winter, tracking data on safety and on-time delivery improvements. Six trucking companies with fleets ranging from about 100 to 1,000 vehicles have signed up and the private weather forecasting company from Winnipeg, Man., has space for a few more to get on board. There is no cost to the trucking companies for the pilot program, but it will be a paid-for service in the future.

Scott Kehler,  Weatherlogics president and chief scientist said his software can predict road conditions at a certain location well ahead of time. 

Road conditions forecast targets safety, on-time deliveryScott Kehler (Photo: Supplied)

 “We take our weather forecast and apply it to roads. We predict road conditions up to a week in advance. We can predict whether the road will become snow-covered or icy or wet and provide temperature forecasts, wind and all that,” he said.

The modelling system uses machine learning and artificial intelligence plays a role. It takes weather observations and turns them into a forecast of road temperature. “Based on the road temperature we are able to determine how road conditions will change as it rains or snows and whether ice or other dangerous road conditions may develop,” Kehler said. This information is available to trucking companies and they send out weather updates to drivers.

Weatherlogics provides an app, so fleets can view data in real time on their computer or phone. Kehler said this makes a difference for planners to know when there might be weather issues and warns safety teams about dangerous situations so they can help drivers avoid them.

Road conditions forecast targets safety, on-time delivery(Photo: Weatherlogics)

Weatherlogics partnered with insurance provider Aviva Canada for the pilot safety program this winter. The program will gather Canada and U.S. data from participants.

The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and improve on-time performance and efficiency by allowing operations to plan for weather that’s coming over the next several days.

In spring, the company will compile the data into a report that will help fleets understand the benefits of the technology.

Kehler says the focus is on longhaul fleets but aims to expand into other types of fleets in the future.