Google applies AI to JB Hunt transportation

  • March 1, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Google is using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools so Arkansas-based JB Hunt can accelerate innovation in transportation and logistics.

JB Hunt is one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America. The multi-year alliance with Google aims to accelerate its digital transformation by collaborating on supply chain technology. Powered by Google Cloud, JB Hunt plans to expand its 360˚ platform that digitally connects shipments and available capacity, increasing efficiencies and enhancing visibility within the platform.

Real-time data are a cornerstone in the $1tn logistics industry, as customers have increased expectations for faster services and more transparency on their shipments. Today’s carriers rely on a patchwork of IT systems across the supply chain, capacity use, pricing and transportation execution. JB Hunt’s 360˚ platform aims to centralise data from across these different systems, helping reduce waste, friction and inefficiencies.

By leveraging Google’s data cloud, JB Hunt 360˚ should predict outcomes better, empower users and make informed decisions. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools from Google Cloud, JB Hunt says it will develop services to transform digitally the shipping and logistics experience for shippers, carriers and service providers.

As a part of its multicloud strategy, the 360˚ platform will tap into Google Cloud’s commitment to an open cloud and adopt Google’s Anthos to provide a consistent development and operations experience across cloud environments. The AI and ML tools, including Cloud AI Platform, Auto ML and Recommendations AI, combined with JB Hunt’s transportation expertise, should create enhanced levels of visibility into the supply chain.

JB Hunt will leverage Google Cloud’s data cloud, including data analytics and AI and ML capabilities, to build reliable, repeatable and extensible workflows. Now JB Hunt will be able to produce ML models quickly and break down data silos to optimise offerings in real time and offer predictive analytics for shippers, carriers and other service providers.

Google and JB Hunt are creating an innovation framework and roadmap that brings together each company’s engineering talents to create entirely new methods that will be rolled out over time, including real-time visibility and predictive modelling. In addition, by leveraging Google’s data analytics tools such as BigQuery, JB Hunt can create a secure, scalable and cost-effective data warehouse.

“Joining forces with Google was a natural fit, considering both companies’ histories of trailblazing and industry disruption,” said John Roberts, CEO of JB Hunt. “Powering JB Hunt 360˚ on Google Cloud will help drive us forward in our mission to create the most efficient transportation network in North America. This alliance is ground breaking in our industry and we expect it will produce innovations meeting transportation and logistics needs. This is an exciting time for our organisation and those we serve, as we launch this initiative alongside Google.”

Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, added: “The transportation and logistics industry is fundamental to the health and security of the global economy. Our partnership with JB Hunt creates a unique opportunity to transform the shipping and logistics experience through the use of AI, ML and other technologies to help businesses and the logistics industry as a whole innovate for the future.”

Google Cloud provides organisations with infrastructure and platform capabilities along with expertise to reinvent their business with data-powered innovation on modern computing infrastructure. There are users in more than 150 countries.

JB Hunt Transport Services, an S&P 500 company, improves supply chains for users throughout North America. Using an integrated, multimodal approach, the company applies technology-driven methods, adding efficiency, flexibility and value. Services include intermodal, dedicated, refrigerated, truckload, less-than-truckload, flatbed, single source and final kilometre.