Artificial intelligence (or AI) has been a big topic in the news lately, with the rising popularity of AI software like ChatGPT and Midjourney. AI also has many industrial and commercial applications. The rapidly evolving technology is transforming how information is processed, analyzed and used to support sound decision-making.
BNSF Railway has always been at the forefront of leveraging cutting-edge technologies for the right reason, and AI is no different. AI has the potential to help us make significant improvements in safety, asset utilization, service and operational efficiency.
From a safety perspective, thanks to machine vision technology, sensors on locomotives, wayside detectors and other systems, we have vast troves of data that AI tools can work with to predict potential defects of cars, locomotives or rail and to help prevent major failures. We’re also using AI to improve our business processes for shipping efficiency and accuracy as well as to supplement capacity.
“We have two ways to add capacity. We can physically expand the capacity of our network, including adding new or expanding facilities, as well as by adding new tracks, new parking lots or equipment such as hostlers and cranes,” April Kuo, director, Network Strategy, Design & Innovation, said. “But a real emerging opportunity to add capacity while improving service is optimizing the way we use our existing infrastructure and equipment by leveraging AI to change business processes to improve efficiency.”
While this technology is helping us to enhance and standardize processes, we also rely on our subject matter experts – humans – to share their experience and lean on their business decisions.
Here’s a look at some of the projects and the technologies that BNSF has engineered that will transform how we serve customers in the future: