Freight industry is another field of human activity in which up-to-date technologies are used to obtain better results at the lowest cost of funds, time and effort. That’s how the idea to develop a logistic app which would help shippers to find reliable carrier companies and truckers, book their shipments easily, track their cargos and control expenses appeared.
Transportation is a large and prospective market that already embraces the use of iOS and Android mobile applications. It means that this industry is making huge investments in the designing of such applications and logistics app development is in high demand.
The success of Uber created the need for developing “Uber for the trucking industry”. The biggest shipping companies have their own mobile applications that work only within their network, so there is a need to develop custom mobile apps for transportation.
In the following article, we will review five reasons why logistic companies need a mobile app for on-demand shipping, what the interest is for software developers to create a transportation mobile app and what will be the cost of developing such an application.
1. It provides the opportunity to instantly find a driver and track their location
Vehicle tracking applications are used both for finding local drivers and for monitoring their current location. As on-demand shipping does not deal with drivers who constantly work for a particular customer, it requires finding different drivers for each shipment.
Tracking applications can help locate the nearest carriers around the customer’s warehouse and then control the driver’s progress in reaching their destination. These applications can also optimize transport routes by analyzing the current location of the transport facility and find possible ways to overcome distances avoiding bottlenecks and traffic jams thus reducing fuel consumption and time spent.
Shippers can list different deliveries in the application by the dimensions of the cargo and the information about where and when it should be picked up from and delivered to. An application sends this data to the dashboard and finds suitable carriers for a particular job. Carriers, in turn, also accept the job through the application.
When the job is accepted, the program sends the shipper a notification that the driver is on their way to pick up the freight. After that, the shipper is able to track the current location of the driver’s vehicle in real time. When the cargo is delivered, the driver sends a picture of a bill of lading to the shipper to prove it.
Mobile apps for vehicle location tracking can work with cellular data or with satellite.
The first way is made possible by using a cellular network and is basically used in cities, where coverage is better. The smartphone sends data about the vehicle location to the server to track it in real time. The bad thing is that if the cellular connection is unavailable, data will be received only when the connection is restored.
The second way is to use a GPS tracker that is installed in the vehicle or a mobile device that supports this technology. GPS trackers receive location coordinates from satellites and transmit data to a server. It is not limited to just vehicle location data, but can also include information about the vehicle’s condition such as the temperature of the engine, battery status, the amount of fuel, tire pressure etc. Data can be accessed by the driver and the dispatcher.
Some applications provide shippers with an opportunity to connect with carriers directly without a middleman thereby avoiding huge commissions which makes the delivery price much less. On the other hand, drivers can calculate how much they would make from a deal by estimating the weight of the cargo and the distance they are to travel.
2. You will always be aware of the location and state of your cargo
Once you are tracking a mover, you should also be able to track a trailer with the cargo itself to account for its security and provide theft prevention. Freight tracking is used to reconcile which wagon is currently connected to a particular vehicle, so you can locate each shipment.
Mobile apps for cargo tracking allow the user to find the location of the shipment and review its current progress and the details of transportation. Some applications like DHL Global Forwarding can also keep shipping history for a long time and show the nearest company office on the map of the application.
Technologically tracking a shipment is realized as well as vehicle tracking – special devices that are connected to GPS or cellular network are installed into hidden places in the van like, for example, inside the pallet or under the chassis of the truck and sends location data to servers when an application can gain access to it.
The other way to do this is by RFID - a radio-frequency identification and NFC – near field communication. RFID tags that are placed on the wagon have antennas and memory chips with necessary information. Access to them is implemented by special RFID readers that can be of two types – active and passive, depending on the range needed for reading.
If RFID data is transmitted only from tags to readers, NFC data can flow in several directions which means that this technology allows the overwriting of information that is recorded on NFC tags. But their range is very small – only about 4 inches. NFC tags are developed to interact with smartphones – just place your device near the tag and if appropriate software is installed it will launch a mobile application to instantly identify the package on your device.
Besides that, packages should be properly marked so they can be identified at the destination point or in any other place where they may go. It can be implemented by using barcodes or QR Codes. These codes are printed on every asset and contain all the necessary information for identification. To read the code you need to open the scanning application on your phone, target the code and wait while application analyzes it.
3. The app gives traffic information to drivers
Drivers can access traffic data on their smartphones via Google Maps and “Uber for truckers” will build patterns for safe driving using the received information. Google has even developed a special feature called Google Traffic that shows the real-time situation on the road including car accidents and traffic jams and it works in more than 50 countries! Drivers can also learn information about the typical traffic situation in a specific area, based on a traffic history of this particular part of the road.
This information is gathered by special sensors installed on the roads or by GPS trackers and mobile devices that use Google Maps as they anonymously send information about your (and other drivers’) current location and driving speed to Google servers to analyze it and make an accurate picture of the situation on the road.
If you don’t want to share this information, you can turn off this function in the options portion of the application. Road sensors are considered to obtain more reliable traffic data than drivers’ devices. You can let your own transportation app collect GPS data to construct a traffic pattern in real time.
4. It helps manage the fleet
Fleet managing applications are used to gain, process, monitor, and store information about the driver and their vehicle such as driver’s license, insurance of the vehicle, information about the taxes, state of transport facility, routine and scheduled maintenance (including Ministry of Transport test) and transportation dates and deadlines.
They embrace all the activities done to the vehicle from its acquisition to disposal and enable people from shipping companies to obtain all the necessary information that would help them decide whether they want to hire a specific driver and their vehicle or not.
There is an important feature to be considered if you’re going to develop a mobile app for a logistics company and that is called geofencing. A geofence is an area around a certain location, for example around the carrier’s target point.
To flag this point you need to enter the appropriate coordinates of this location and draw a radius around it. When the carrier enters the marked area, the dispatcher will know that the truck is within a certain distance from the target and the shipping company will be aware of the progress of the shipment.
5. It affords bright prospects for software developers
As you can see, a mobile app for an on-demand shipping startup is an extremely useful feature for both shippers and carriers that solves lots of important tasks in the shipping industry. It gives an immeasurable number of benefits for logistics business, significantly increasing the efficiency of shipments, helping to eliminate the problem of empty containers and saving drivers’ time and costs by optimizing transport routes and job pricing.
People who work in logistics have a strong interest in using custom mobile applications because they ease their daily routine. It all makes for developing Uber for delivery trucks and cargo shipping a prospective idea for a startup. If you are interested in developing such applications, feel free to contact us. Our experts will provide you with comprehensive answers to all the questions you have. firstname.lastname@example.org.