Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

How machine learning is accelerating last-mile, and last-meter, delivery

Wise Systems’ routing software helped one company cut late deliveries by 85%.
March 25, 2019

While much of the logistics industry’s efforts to accelerate delivery times focuses on optimizing routes, it turns out that’s not where drivers spend most of their time.

In fact, as much as 75% of their workday is dedicated to navigating not the “last mile” but the last 100 meters—waiting at loading docks, searching for parking, and interacting with customers, said Chazz Sims, chief executive of Wise Systems, a startup based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that has developed autonomous routing and dispatch software.

Using data and machine-learning tools, the company found that this kind of service time varies widely depending on the time of day, the specific customer, the goods in question, and the delivery person, Sims added. For instance, certain shops get busy serving customers at particular times of the day, or receiving goods from different delivery trucks at others. By spotting those patterns and shifting schedules around, the company was able to cut down delivery times and costs.

Wise Systems’ tools automatically adjust routes, drivers, and schedules throughout the day in response to other shifting conditions as well, including weather, traffic, and backed-up loading docks. By analyzing data from the fleet of brewing company Anheuser-Busch, one of the startup’s biggest customers, Wise Systems was able to cut late deliveries by 85% and fleet miles by 13%.

The business, founded in 2014, raised $7 million from Google’s AI fund late last year.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

Sam Altman says helpful agents are poised to become AI’s killer function

Open AI’s CEO says we won’t need new hardware or lots more training data to get there.

An AI startup made a hyperrealistic deepfake of me that’s so good it’s scary

Synthesia's new technology is impressive but raises big questions about a world where we increasingly can’t tell what’s real.

Taking AI to the next level in manufacturing

Reducing data, talent, and organizational barriers to achieve scale.

Is robotics about to have its own ChatGPT moment?

Researchers are using generative AI and other techniques to teach robots new skills—including tasks they could perform in homes.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.