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Introducing Auto-Scheduling

We’re pleased to announce the immediate availability of auto-scheduling in DispatchBot.

For help getting started using auto-scheduling in DispatchBot, please see this support article.

DispatchBot’s auto-scheduling automatically finds the best possible schedules available for each trip. Dispatchers are presented with up to five of the best assignments for any given trip. With a single mouse click, dispatchers can choose their preferred schedule, and the trip will be automatically placed.

Seeking the best schedule

The perfect schedule is elusive. In fact, it may not even exist. So many factors go into a perfect schedule, and so many are at odds with each other. Passengers will prefer a point-to-point route, whereas the driver may need to pick up another passenger that is slightly out of the way. It’s impossible to have a perfect schedule.

The DispatchBot auto-scheduler focuses on finding the best schedule. For any given trip, DispatchBot will measure and weigh a multitude of variables, compare these against all other possible schedules, and present you, the dispatcher, with the best one (actually, up to the best 5).

To do this, DispatchBot uses a highly specialized form of artificial-intelligence. We’ve been teaching the system how dispatchers schedule; more specifically, what factors are considered when creating an efficient schedule:

  • Will the passenger arrive on time?
  • Does the driver have enough time to reach the passenger’s pick up location (from the driver’s current or previous location)? Does the driver have too much time?
  • Once the passenger is picked up, does the driver have enough time to get to the drop off location?
  • If the driver performs this trip, will he have enough time to reach his next trip on time?
  • Does the vehicle have enough capacity to take the passenger?
  • Does the placement of this trip effectively utilize the vehicles already in service? (e.g., we don’t want to add a vehicle in service unless we need to).

You’re probably already doing all of these things when you manually schedule a trip, but the difference is that DispatchBot can do it really fast, and it does this for every possible placement of the trip. This ensures that what it suggests to you is consistently the most probable best schedule.

Getting Smarter

We’re only just getting started. We’re already working on giving DispatchBot even more intelligence. For example, we are increasing the precision for estimated load and unload times. Soon, DispatchBot will know that a wheelchair passenger needs a little more time to load/unload, than a non-wheelchair passenger.

Additionally, we will be working to make auto-scheduling even more automatic. For example, allowing DispatchBot to automatically schedule trips as you import them from your broker, or as they are created from ShuttleBot.

Go ahead and give it a try! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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