The MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is developing an automated travel advisor that could ultimately function as a type of robot dispatcher that helps truck drivers avoid disruptions and choose the optimum routes to their destinations.
The lab already has several applications including hybrid car navigation and controlling autonomous underwater vehicles.
“The algorithm will show you the acceleration profile of the car so you can anticipate features such as hills, and adjust the route to meet your deadlines,” says Brian Williams, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and leader of the Model-Based Embedded and Robotic Systems group at MIT.
The system has speech-recognition technology that enables it to establish a dialogue with the driver. It might ask what the person’s goals are for a trip, and automatically plot the most time- and fuel- efficient route based on the latest traffic information and digital maps.
Unexpected changes are also taken into account. For example, if the driver wants to travel to a restaurant and the place has closed, the advisor can be programed to suggest other options.
More on the robot dispatcher at “A Digital Dispatcher for Trucks”.