UPS Big Data to Cut Carbon Emissions, Save 1.5M Gallons of Fuel


by | Oct 31, 2013

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ORIONUPS has launched its route optimization software called ORION — this stands for on-road integrated optimization and navigation — which the company expects to save more than 1.5 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14,000 metric tons by the end of the year.

ORION has a team of 500 dedicated resources to move the US deployment forward as UPS nears its busy holiday season, the company says. The rollout of ORION will optimize 10,000 delivery routes by the end of the year, reducing miles driven. A reduction of just one mile each day per driver over the course of a year saves UPS up to $50 million annually.

ORION, which consists of more than 250 million address data points, combines customer’s shipping requirements with customized map data the company has compiled to provide UPS drivers with optimized routing instructions, the company says.

The analytics technology is more than a decade in the making. To gather the necessary data, UPS operations research scientists began piloting telematics technologies with the installation of advanced GPS tracking equipment and vehicle sensors in 2008. The integration of these technologies allows UPS to capture data related to vehicle routes and performance and driver safety. The driver’s handheld mobile device and telematics technologies combined with custom mapping data and ORION algorithms provide more efficient routes for UPS drivers.

UPS prototyped ORION technology at 11 different sites between 2008 and 2011 and engaged senior UPS drivers to “beat the computer.” This challenge helped to identify business rules to bolster the algorithm.

ORION is constantly evaluating routing options up to the moment a driver leaves the UPS facility. At full deployment it will be running tens of thousands route optimizations per minute.

ORION will enable future enhancements to UPS’ MyChoice service, providing close to 6 million consumers with flexibility over their home deliveries by way of rerouting shipments and adjusting delivery locations and dates.

US deployment to nearly all 55,000 routes is planned to be completed in 2017 and global deployments are planned for the future.

UPS is the latest in a host of companies using big data to advance sustainability. Inttra, the world’s largest multi-carrier e-commerce network for ocean shipping, this week said it is launching three initiatives that it says will improve supply chain sustainability and visibility by using big data.

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