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Artificial Intelligence for Military Logistics – Current Applications
Published by Millicent Abadicio Millicent is a writer and researcher for Emerj, with a career background in traditional journalism and academic research.
Logistics in the military encompasses more functions than most people realize. In modernwarfare, that means large quantities of data to sift through in order to make decisions regarding supply, transport, communications, and so on. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in one or more areas in logistics could help speed up that process and make it more agile.
Although AI and ML could have great benefits for military logistics, the military has focused on AI and ML applications in other areas. The military has been slow on the uptake, and it often accepts an amber status for its logistics in active war zones.
However, integrating AI for logistics in the military comes with its attendant concerns, although they are not the same as those when using AI for surveillance, intelligence, or weapons. Theissues with AI for logistics have to do with inherent unpredictability and vulnerability to exploitation.
Data scientists and engineers are making great progress in AI and ML with impressive results, but it is far from foolproof. This lack of certainty has until recently prevented more enthusiastic employment of available AI and ML solutions. A directive requiring all AI-based systems to have a human overseer or operator at all times should mitigate, but not eliminate, the specter of compromised and dangerous technology.
That said, the fact that the biggest adversaries of the US are aggressively pursuing the use of AI and ML in their own defense systems, and that these same systems face the same risks and vulnerabilities, might present unique opportunities for the Department of Defense (DoD) to level the playing field, so to speak.
Be that as it may, the DoD is addressing the issue of using AI for logistics in the US military, spearheaded by the newly formed Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). The authors of the “Summary Of The 2018 Department Of Defense Artificial Intelligence Strategy” point out that “Other nations, particularly China and Russia, are making significant investments in AI for military purposes…The United States, together with its allies and partners, must adopt AI to maintain its strategic position, prevail on future battlefields, and safeguard this order.”
This article will run through some of the areas in logistics where AI is either in pilot mode or in active operation. The areas for discussion will include:
- Preventive maintenance
- Cloud services
- Supply chain management
- Medical aid
- Driverless resupply
We begin our analysis with a discussion of preventative maintenance.
JAIC director Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. “Jack” Shanahan stated, “we want to identify some smart automation initiatives that could provide near-term dividends in terms of increased efficiencies and effectiveness for back-office functions.” One important AI logistic initiative under JAIC is preventive maintenance, particularly for fighter jets.
An early version of automated preventive maintenance for the military was the F-35 fighter jet test performed by Lockheed Martin back in 2015. Below is a 2:50-minute video showing theAutonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) at work:
There is no mention of AI or ML, but Air Force Chief Scientist Gregory Zacharias confirmed AI is the driving force behind the “smart” system. The system will probably get a lot “smarter,” probably with supportive AI software from defense contractor C3.ai. The AI company currently has nine projects with the DoD.
The military uses ALIS and, potentially, the C3 AI Suite for aircraft. However, if the pilot programs prove successful in the long term, the military might easily customize these and similar technologies to accrue the same benefits for other types of vehicles and equipment. We recently posted a more in-depth article on predictive analytics in the military for these other uses.
A central repository of information might sound like a bad idea for the military, but in the world of logistics, it is necessary. It means savings in time, effort, and money if logisticians have all the information they need to make informed decisions when moving supplies and equipment to support troops.
In line with this, the Army contracted IBM to provide cloud services as well as access to Watson to store and process logistics data coming from various sources. Logistics Support Activity, or LOGSA, (now Logistics Data Analysis Center or LDCA) Commander John Kuenzli stated in 2017:
Capabilities like Watson make it a very exciting time for us. This can be a way to free up our analysts from some of the more technical work, to let the machine do some of that and to leverage the analysts’ professional expertise to look up and look further toward where the Army is going.
The idea is to use the cloud to upload sensor data from vehicles and equipment and perform “conditioned-based maintenance (CBM),” which is a repair-when-needed approach, made possible with AI-driven data analysis. Below is a 4-minute proof of concept video on 360 Stryker combat vehicles from IBM:
While the idea of CBM falls under preventive maintenance, the bigger picture in this particular use of AI is in the move of military data into the cloud. According to DoD Chief Information officer Dana Deasy, data access is the key to effective warfare today. He explained:
One of the things traditional computing has always had a problem with is the warfighter sitting out on the tactical edge, [with the] cloud sitting [elsewhere]. Now imagine a world where we can take that compute power with new applications on top of it, and put the cloud right into the hands of the tactical fighter on the edge. That’s why the cloud is so important to us.
In 2019, that early initiative has bloomed into a multi-billion single-provider contract for secure cloud storage and software under the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) with several commercial companies vying for it. Unfortunately, legal problems are keeping the DoD from going forward with it.
Supply Chain Management
The government can also become a victim of fraud as much as any civilian, and perhaps more so because of the sheer volume of its acquisitions worth about $350 billion a year. For theDefense Logistics Agency (DLA), this is a big problem, as it provides what the military needs, such as weapons, repair parts, and fuel, as well as disposes of surplus equipment. As the DLA receives an average of a million bids a day, it can be fatally easy for some questionable transactions to get through.
To address this issue, the DLA turned to AI and ML software to sort through the mountain of private and public data to identify and flag suspicious or anomalous suppliers. DLA Logistics Operations Vice Director Michael Scott claimed its Business Decision Analytics (BDA) tool has made a big difference. In 5 months of operations:
It has identified more than 350 high-risk CAGE codes or supplier entities. It’s probably one of our top concerns right now from a process perspective is the rise in the number of fraudulent or bad actor companies who are trying to get into our business. This new tool has been very helpful in identifying that from the onset and allowing us to put controls in our systems to not allow them to get business from DLA.
It is unclear if the DLA developed the BDA tool in-house or contracted it out to one of several infotech and AI companies awarded contracts under the J6 Enterprise Technology Services(JETS) program.
How AI Is Driving the Next Phase of Growth in Logistics Industry?
Today we find ourselves in another transformational era in human history where Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly central role in this transformation. AI stands to greatly benefit all industries and is prevalent in consumer-facing applications, clerical enterprise functions, online and offline retail, autonomous mobility, and intelligent manufacturing. AI in logistics plays an important role and beginning its journey to become an AI-driven industry.
We hope you will find this an insightful read, and we walk you through as How can AI be used in logistics to reinvent back office, operational, and customer-facing activities?
Well, let’s discuss the reason for why Logistics companies are facing an era of unprecedented change is that as New technologies are enabling greater efficiency and more collaborative operating models. It is the best time for the logistics industry to embrace AI because digitisation takes hold and customer expectations evolve.
AI can help the logistics industry to redefine today’s behaviours and practices, planning from forecast to prediction and services from standardized to personalized. It also offers logistics companies the ability to optimize network orchestration to degrees of efficiency that cannot be achieved with human thinking alone
Here are few things you should know about Artificial Intelligence and its Role in Logistics?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a growing presence in our personal lives and is rapidly being applied by businesses to increase efficiency and create new value. Many logistics companies around the world embrace digital transformation, transitioning away from legacy enterprise resource planning systems to advanced analytics, increased automation, and hardware and software robotics, and mobile computing.
With the help of AI, the logistics industry can shift its in operation from reactive actions to a proactive and predictive paradigm, which can generate higher insights at favourable costs in the back office, operational and customer-facing activities. For instance, AI technologies will use advanced image recognition to trace the condition of shipments and assets, bring end-to-end autonomy to transportation, or predict fluctuations in world cargo volumes before they occur.
More and more companies are adding artificial intelligence (AI) to their supply chain With the growing digitization of the professional world, in order to maximize their resources by reducing the time and money spent on deciding and when to send a package to a certain place.
Inventory Optimization means maintaining a particular level of inventory that may eliminate the out-of-stock situation and at the same time the cost of carrying inventory is not harmful to the bottom-line. Logistics plays a significant role as to scale back value of the product without reducing the material cost or process cost. The technology can also secure and manage the supplier inventory and the number of trucks that are available for delivery and Optimized logistics model. It becomes successful if it satisfies the Demand & supply equation.
Making brokerage processes easy
Customs declarations rely heavily on manual processes that involve knowledge of regulations, industries and customers. Cross referencing and validation are an effort-intensive process. Natural language process will modify and enable an AI software to extract relevant information from documents in various formats and present a declaration.
Tackling Unforeseen Circumstances
AI can be trained to learn from contingency plans that can guarantee corrective action in the future in and Using AI to scour the internet to observe trends can predict any increase in the demand of a certain category of products or to identify any risk way ahead in time.
Expect the unexpected when it comes to the logistical business as a series of circumstances could affect the expected delivery date of a product. Natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, carrier bankruptcies and employee strikes can all affect the natural course of a company’s logistical workflow.
Source: S.N.A.K India
Artificial Intelligence are changing the Logistics Industry
There are an increasing number of people around the world who have significant purchasing power. Manufacturing and design technologies are capable of producing goods at some times blinding speeds. Likewise, new vehicular modalities increase the efficiency and capability of the transport industry.
What does all this mean for logistics? Each of these aspects challenge current business practices to compete at a faster pace alongside an increasing number of options.
Technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), and other innovations, provide enticing solutions.WThe logistics industry itself is independent of the transportation industry. Logistics is involved with planning and analysis. Transportation implements the findings, goals, and long-term plans set forth by logistics professionals.
While transportation is action oriented, logistics technology makes the modern world possible.
“Current fragmentation in the logistics software market is an impediment to adoption. With the spike in blockchain and A.I. technologies, a myriad of new fragmented logistics software platforms has entered the market, offering more choice but at the same time confusing the markets. In 2019, a few selected that offer the most value will thrive while others will fizzle out as more of a novelty,” said Ashik Karim of 1Shift Logistics, an end-to-end logistics solutions company that uses technology to improve the industry.
Logistics technology brings efficiency to the supply chain. Its advantages can be employed for end-to-end solutions. From planning, tracking, control procedures, and implementation, logistics improves current operations. It also finds opportunities that may exist in production, storing, distribution, and transporting.
Many, if not most, of the top world leaders believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is the most profound technology to ever grace the human race.
Business leaders believe that AI has significant advantages for business.
By 2035, the AI market is expected to generate a 38 percent increase in profits.. AI’s ability to find inefficiency in current business-to-business transactions opens up a new world for data management. It provides the tools to enact operational order.
While AI can find, diagnose, and automate logistical solutions, digital ledger technology can record, secure, and make operations more efficient. Deloitte compiled a global survey and found that digital ledger technology adds speed (32%), encourages new business models (28%), and reduces costs (16%).
Each of these aspects alone are capable of a cascade of modernization for logistical practices. Together, they illustrate how disruptive a change is coming.
1Shift Logistics was created by the team at LiteLink Technologies. The 1Shift Logistics software provides cutting edge end-to-end logistics management solutions for the freight and logistics industry.
The revolutionary software empowers decision makers with increased visibility. It is a practical solution that can be accessed via desktop and mobile phones. It enables managers to directly connect with every member of the team. For instance, drivers find automated real-time routing, delay and incursion updates, along with payment processing.
The product works on desktops and on trucker mobile phones, eliminating the need for drivers to get involved in long discussions regarding route, delays and payments. The 1SHIFT Logistics platform seamlessly automates these typically manual features.
1SHIFT Logistics is a live and actionable solution. It offers decisive advantages for pricing histories, partnerships, and variable factors that determine operational decisions. As an enterprise solution, it delivers an improved understanding, speed, efficiency, cost reduction, and complete end-to-end monitoring with minimal need for manual intervention.
Artificial Intelligence how will supply chain management be promoted?
Logistics has been an integral part supply chain and business models. Unlike the past, businesses have now started to focus on its development for which they look up to new age technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one such technology that holds the potential to leverage logistics to overcome present challenges. Retail logistics face the most challenges as it directly caters the consumers and is widespread making it more complex. Logistics currently needs to predict consumer needs, goods demand, a simpler process, and streamlined workflow to remain unhindered and profitable.
AI in Documentation
Organizations from around the world used to put in their efforts in managing the paperwork for logistics which was prone to errors, costly, and time taking. AI adoption allows automating the process and saving money as entities themselves could enter data and AI interface managed all by itself without human intervention. Also, the insights received from this data enables companies to enhance their payment and documentation methods and keep a track of them.
The major benefit of AI proves to be its predictive analysis of customer demands. Integrating AI in logistics will give manufacturers to retailers, an insight of consumer needs. Retailers will be able to understand the demand of particular good at a particular time or region and accordingly, they would procure them. Data received from retailers would help all other entities in the supply chain redefine their inventory. Improvements made at the top of the hierarchy would trickle down and benefit the rest.
Apart from customer needs, AI can also leverage organizations to improve their logistics management system as it will enable them to keep a track of their assets in real-time. From transportation to inventory everything could be sorted according to requirements of the market. A proper assessment of assets will allow optimizing resources and investments.
Tedious and mundane tasks can be shifted to the AI interface which will carry them out with the same efficiency each time. As AI can interpret bigger data sets companies can fetch more tenders and choose the most reliable and profitable logistics partners based on it.
Source: CIO Review