METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR AUTOMATED VEHICLE TRANSPORTATION
1. A method in a data processing system for automated vehicle transportation, comprising:
- receiving, from a customer, vehicle information of a vehicle to be shipped, to be accepted on a computing device by an automotive transport trucker to transport the vehicle;
automatically transmitting the vehicle information to the computing device of the automotive transporter trucker for acceptance for transport by the automotive transport trucker; and
receiving an indication of acceptance to transport the vehicle by the automotive transport trucker on the mobile device.
A method and system for automated vehicle transportation is disclosed that allows a car shipper, such as a car dealer, to ship a car automatically from a computer or smart phone, and have the car accepted directly electronically by an auto transport trucker on a smartphone to pick up and deliver. The user by enters the vehicle on a website or mobile application, and the auto transporter selects the car for pick up by tapping on a mobile application on a smartphone. The transaction is handled automatically by the system, and manual communication such as phone calls and faxes and paperwork are not required. The system also tracks the location of the vehicle via the transporters smartphone and displays the real-time location to the customer. The payment may be collected electronically from the customer, and automatically paid to the transporter electronically. A video bill of lading is also provided.
- 1. A method in a data processing system for automated vehicle transportation, comprising:
receiving, from a customer, vehicle information of a vehicle to be shipped, to be accepted on a computing device by an automotive transport trucker to transport the vehicle; automatically transmitting the vehicle information to the computing device of the automotive transporter trucker for acceptance for transport by the automotive transport trucker; and receiving an indication of acceptance to transport the vehicle by the automotive transport trucker on the mobile device.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
- 14. The method of claim 14, wherein the predetermined criteria comprises one or more of:
(1) observed driving patterns of the automotive transport tucker, (2) optimization of the payout amounts for the auto transport, (3) predetermined preferences of the automotive transport trucker, and (5) a number of available spots open on a truck of the automotive transport trucker.
- 15. A data processing system for automated vehicle transportation, comprising:
a memory configured to store instructions to cause a processor to; receive, from a customer, vehicle information of a vehicle to be shipped, to be accepted on a computing device by an automotive transport trucker to transport the vehicle; automatically transmit the vehicle information to the computing device of the automotive transporter trucker for acceptance for transport by the automotive transport trucker; and receive an indication of acceptance to transport the vehicle by the automotive transport trucker on the mobile device; and the processor configured to execute the instructions.
- View Dependent Claims (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/751,228 entitled “Method and System for New Car Exchange and Automated Vehicle Transportation,” filed Oct. 26, 2019, which is incorporated by reference herein.
The present invention generally relates to an automated vehicle transportation system, and more particularly to a system for users, such as car dealerships, to ship vehicles automatically with auto transporters using computer and/or mobile communication devices.
It is estimated that over 40 million vehicles are shipped in the United States each year. Car dealerships are responsible for the vast majority of the shipping of those vehicles. However, conventional shipping of a car is a tedious manual process that involves calling a broker, who then calls auto transport truckers to see if they will pick up the car. If a trucker accepts, typically, neither the customer nor the broker knows where the trucker is before or after the car is picked up for shipment. The process also typically involves a customer, such as a dealership, receiving and needing to sign time consuming paperwork. The transporter also typically has to deal with paperwork and manual invoicing. Furthermore, the broker often takes a large commission, but the amount is unknown to the customer and often the trucker too. The process is highly inefficient and there are often many errors, late deliveries, late pick ups and long time delays. While this is a problem for most people shipping cars, this is a particular problem for car dealerships that ship many cars.
Such car dealers need to routinely transport the vehicles to and from auctions or end consumers, or from one dealer location to another. Conventionally, the dealers engage with plurality of transport providers and get various price quotes manually. Finding the correct and most appropriate transporter for shipment of the vehicles of the dealer/end consumer can be a major challenge. Additionally, even after a transporter is located, the communication with the transporters is done manually and conventional systems do not provide any tracking abilities for the customer or car dealer to check the current real-time location or status of the vehicle shipment. To add to the problems, conventional technologies use manual billing and staff-intensive accounting procedures costing a significant amount of time and money whereas accounting and reconciliation of expenses falls primarily on the dealer.
Furthermore, there can be damage to vehicles that may not be properly or efficiently recorded with the typical manual process and as a result, it can be difficult to tell who caused the damage and thus who is responsible. Also, the haggling or negotiating over various price quotes can be large a waste of time for the dealers, brokers and truckers.
Conventional processes for transporters are also complex, costly, and time-consuming. The largely manual nature of searching creates significant productivity losses for drivers and other transportation company personnel. Conventionally the transporter has to waste hours manually finding and accepting loads. As the process is typically manual which often results in inefficiency, the transporters routinely lose money driving with unutilized space on their trucks or “deadheading,” driving on a return trip with an empty truck after a delivery. Also, while transporters are in route with their loads, there is no conventional easy way for them to access a service in order to easily discover additional vehicles that are available for pickup. And transporters, like dealers, must employ varying and inconsistent communication methods, including telephone, fax, mail and email to keep in touch with brokers, dealers or other customers.
Furthermore, the transporters send manual invoices and receive manual payment typically weeks or months after shipment is complete, or sometimes payment is not received at all. Also, with significant brokers'"'"' fees, transporters lose significant income taking less pay than they could otherwise. If damage to a car that is picked up is not properly recorded with the typical manual process, the transporter could incur liability for a car that was already damaged before pick up, or damaged after drop off. Each transaction generates significant paperwork and administrative tasks, which slows down transporters.
The dealers have several conventional options: first, dealers can handle the transportation themselves, either by sending staff to retrieve the vehicle and possibly experiencing a concomitant increase in liability and risk, or taking the time to list the vehicle on an automobile transport marketplace and spending the time dealing with transporters to negotiate the fees and time frame of pickup and delivery. Second, dealers can use a transport broker which may save some time, but is a very manual process and has an unknown associated cost. Third, dealers can work directly with a transportation company that gives a bid and timeframe for the dealer, but likewise has an unknown associated cost. In any situation, the dealer does not know where the shipped car is, or where the transporter'"'"'s truck is. These options cost the customer or dealer money and time.
Conventionally, Cox Automotive'"'"'s Central Dispatch service is a major venue for transportation companies or individual transporters to obtain information regarding new and used vehicles (loads) for transport. However, this service is merely a posting board, and requires significant manual interaction and phone calls to ship a car. This conventional system requires transporters to: (1) search online for new and used vehicles that are available for transport; then (2) make manual contact (mail, telephone, fax, email) with clients seeking vehicles transported; (3) generate and collect paperwork by hand, or through a secondary system, on pickup and delivery; (4) make manual contact (mail, telephone, fax, email) with the pickup dealers, delivery dealers, brokers, and others to give updates on the driver'"'"'s status and/or location; and (5) handle paperwork and payment. Transporters also often receive limited specifics on the vehicles they will be transporting or on the availability of loads to fill open spaces on their individual trucks and trailers. It is also difficult for transporters to efficiently determine the available cars along their route to and from a delivery to ensure their truck stays full to realize the most amount of money for the trip. These services also often have hefty subscription fees.
Other services, such as Ready Logistics, have similar drawbacks and still require manual communication and do not show the customer the location of the vehicles in transit.
As such, it is desirable to solve these and other related problems.
In accordance with methods and systems consistent with the present disclosure, a method in a data processing system for automated vehicle transportation is provided comprising receiving, from a customer, vehicle information of a vehicle to be shipped, to be accepted on a computing device by an automotive transport trucker to transport the vehicle. The method further comprises automatically transmitting the vehicle information to the computing device of the automotive transporter trucker for acceptance for transport by the automotive transport trucker, and receiving an indication of acceptance to transport the vehicle by the automotive transport trucker on the mobile device.
In another implementation, a data processing system for automated vehicle transportation is provided comprising a memory configured to store instructions to cause a processor to receive, from a customer, vehicle information of a vehicle to be shipped, to be accepted on a computing device by an automotive transport trucker to transport the vehicle. The instructions further cause the processor to automatically transmit the vehicle information to the computing device of the automotive transporter trucker for acceptance for transport by the automotive transport trucker, and receive an indication of acceptance to transport the vehicle by the automotive transport trucker on the mobile device. The processor is further configured to execute the instructions.
It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that any block diagrams herein represent conceptual views of illustrative systems embodying the principles of the present subject matter. Similarly, it will be appreciated that any flow charts, flow diagrams, state transition diagrams, pseudo code, and the like represent various processes which may be substantially represented in computer readable medium and executed by a computer or processor, whether or not such computer or processor is explicitly shown.
Methods and systems in accordance with the present disclosure allow a car shipper or car dealer to ship a car automatically from a computer or mobile computing device such as a smart phone, and have the car accepted directly electronically by a transporter on a smartphone to pick up and deliver. They permit a user to ship a vehicle, such as a car, by entering the vehicle on a website and submitting with a click of a button or on a mobile application on a smart phone, for example, and the automobile transporter to automatically select the car for pick up by tapping on a mobile application on a mobile computing device such as a smart phone. The transaction is handled automatically by the system, and manual communication such as phone calls and faxes and paperwork are not required. The system also tracks the location of the vehicle via the transporter'"'"'s smartphone and displays the real-time location to the user or customer. The payment may be collected electronically from the user, and automatically paid to the transporter electronically.
Users may efficiently ship vehicles with the click of a button, and transporters can easily find and accept vehicles with the tap of the app. The ease of accepting the vehicles for pick up and delivery and ability to view where the vehicles are, allows the transporter to tap on the vehicles they need to pick up to reduce empty space on the truck, and thereby increase income.
Transporters also realize quick or immediate electronic pay, eliminating the need to submit manual invoices and wait weeks or months for payment, and also eliminate the risk of not getting paid.
The system may eliminate the typical large broker fee of a human broker using manual communication, thereby allowing users and customers to pay less, and transport truckers to earn more.
The system also provides a video bill of lading (“BOL”) that provides a fast, simple, and user-friendly solution for documenting vehicle condition, pick-up, and delivery information. The system prompts the transporter through the app to take a video of the car, pointing out any damage before pick up, so that the transporter is not responsible for it. The system may also have the transporter take another video upon delivery so that both the transporter and the customer or user have a record of the condition of the car at pick up and drop off if any damage was caused.
Tracking of the mobile application of the smart phone of the trucker reduces the need for telephone and other communication, while providing delivery route and status information to the shipping customer.
The system empowers users such as dealers and transporters to ship cars more efficiently, often without communication required, and more directly, continuously, and automatically than convention systems. The methods and systems help dealers and transporters to see potential opportunities for ease of use, transparency, increased revenue, and reduction of time.
Dealers and other users can improve overall ease, eliminate calls for transportation, thereby saving time, reduce broker fees, reduce expenses, eliminate liability and logistical issues, smooth year-end accounting processing. In addition, transporters can greatly increase ease, gain more vehicles for transport, eliminate paperwork, reduce liability with an automatic video BOL, and enjoy faster easier electronic payment and higher profitability.
The user may be a car dealer, for example, but may also be anyone else who ships a car. The user may be a customer who wishes to ship a car and who will pay for the shipping. The system connects the user, customer or dealer directly with the auto transport trucker, without a broker or intermediary in between.
In an embodiment, the server 108 may refer to a computing device, such as a computer or server, that includes a memory for storing a program for implementing methods and systems consistent with the present disclosure, and a program that executes the program in the server 108. The dealer device 102 and transporter device 104 may interact with the server 108 to execute the procedures disclosed. Server 108 may not necessarily functionally operate as a separate entity, whereas in an embodiment, the functionalities of the server 108 can be integrated into the dealer device 102 and/or the transporter device 104.
In one implementation, server 108 may operate as a web server on the communication network 106 such as the Internet. Dealer device 102 and transporter device 104 may also represent other computers on the Internet, such as users'"'"' computers having web browsers. Dealer device 102 and transporter device 104 may have include web browsers and/or mobile apps and may be used by users to access the Internet or other network and access server 108. There may be any number of user computers and any number of server computers. Users of the dealer devices 102 and transporter devices 104, for example, may be customers looking to ship cars, car dealers, or auto transport truckers, for example, on the automated transport system by accessing the server 108.
The dealer device 102 may be a computer that further comprises a processor 202, a memory 204, a transceiver 206, an input/output unit 208. The dealer device 102 may also be a mobile computing device, such as a smart phone, or a tablet computing device, such as an iPad. The memory 204 stores a program for implementing methods and systems consistent with the present disclosure, which is executable by the processor 202.
Either the dealer device 102 or the transporter device 104 may be a desktop computer, a laptop, tablet computer, a smartphone, or the like. These devices are capable of accessing (or being accessed over) a network (e.g., using wired or wireless communication capabilities). These devices are used by users, customers and transporters to access the system and website or mobile application. To ship a car, the customer goes to the website or mobile application to access the shipments page.
In one implementation, when entering the address, the system will offer the user to use the user'"'"'s current location as automatically determined by the system. The system may also default to automatically fill in the dealer'"'"'s address for either the pick up or drop off address. The system may also allow the user to save commonly used addresses to avoid the time of re-entry of pick up or drop off addresses.
Also, although shown as a website with a dealer on a computer, the system may provide a user or a dealer a mobile application to enter the vehicle information and post the shipment for acceptance by transporters. In this case, the mobile application may have a VIN number scanner to automatically scan a VIN number on a vehicle for entry.
In one implementation, the server 108 may determine the cost by the price per mile of the distance of the delivery. In another implementation, this is determined by a different price per mile for different ranges of distances. For example, 0-50 miles is a first price per mile, while 51-100 miles is a second price per mile, 101-150 miles is a third price per mile amount. The total amount is the sum of the prices per mile of the various ranges totaled up. If a car is shipped 120 miles, the price would be the total of 50 times the first price per mile, plus 50 times the second price per mile plus 20 times the third price per mile.
In another embodiment, the pricing process may factor in any other factor such as route distance, route duration, route fees, fuel costs, weather conditions, road conditions, highway tolls, truck availability, and/or number of available drivers. Any other suitable factor may also be used. The pricing process may also charge more for enclosed transports.
In one implementation, the system provides an error notification if the user attempts to enter a VIN of a vehicle that'"'"'s already been posted for acceptance. In another implementation, multiple VIN'"'"'s may be entered at once, for example, in a larger text field, and the system can accept them all at once.
In another implementation, the dealer could forward an email having VIN numbers and/or gate passes to an email address of the server 108, and the server 108 may parse the VIN'"'"'s and/or gate passes for automatic entry for acceptance by transporters.
The same details can be shown for the drop-off details. The order summary, located in the middle of the screen, showcases each vehicle by make and model, the VIN for each vehicle, if it is unassigned or claimed, and the cost for each vehicle. The total for the dollar amount of the shipment is listed at the end of the individual vehicles listed. Any unassigned vehicles as shown in
In one implementation, a user can pay with any acceptable form of payment such as credit card, debit card, bank account, or more efficient electronic payment forms and mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
The server 108 may then send the shipment information to transporters to accept on their mobile apps (step 1510). In one implementation, the shipments are sent to transporters in the areas matching predefined criteria. Then a transporter accepts the shipment on the mobile app on the transporter device 104 (step 1512) shown below with respect to
The transporter picks up the vehicle and creates a video BOL (described below), and the user receives a notification that the vehicle has been picked up (step 1514). The transporter drives to deliver the vehicle(s), and the server 108 may display the transporter'"'"'s location to the user (step 1516). When the transporter delivers the vehicle(s), the server 108 may send to the user a delivery confirmation (step 1518). Upon a successful delivery, the system may charge the user electronically and sends an invoice to the user (step 1520). Alternatively, the user may be charged when the vehicle is first entered for acceptance by a transporter. The system then pays the transporter electronically (step 1522). In one implementation, this payment is subject to an administrator'"'"'s approval.
In another implementation, the system calculates suggested vehicles to pick up based on various information such as vehicles that might be along a route to a current drop off, learning the driving patterns of the transporter, figuring out the most money the transporter could make, factoring in the transporter'"'"'s preferences, factoring in the number of available spots open on the transporters truck or any other suitable method. The system may display these to the transporter or send notifications when suggested ones are available.
In another implementation, the transporter is presented a map view of the available shipments to pick up, and the transporter can select them by clicking on the map. In this way, the transporter can visually determine which shipments are best to accept and pick up along a desired route.
In another implementation, the system provides incentives, such as increased pay, to transporters based on the amount of time an available load has been posted. This may help vehicles that have been sitting around for a while get picked up by transporters.
In one embodiment, the transporter is notified of a new shipment being posted. In another embodiment, the transporter is notified of any new shipment posted within a predetermined distance from the transporter. The transporter and/or administrator may be able to determine this distance. Other parameters for notification of new shipments may also be used, such as shipments going to a certain location, a certain amount of vehicles, or a certain payout amount, or whether the shipment needs an enclosed transport.
Next, the timeline for the order is detailed out as shown on
The drop-off details list which vehicles were dropped off and the option to add the video BOL is there for the drop off. The transporter takes the video BOL of the car upon drop off to document the condition of the car upon drop off. In one implementation, the transporter will not be able to confirm pickup or drop-off of each vehicle without taking the respective video BOL.
The system stores an executed copy of the video BOL. The video BOL can be done quickly, and easier and provide more accuracy than conventional BOL'"'"'s. In the event that a dispute arises regarding whether vehicle was damaged or otherwise harmed while in transport, the extent of such damage or blemish, if any, and the party at fault, if any, may be ascertained by comparing the first video (recorded at point of origin) with the second video (recorded at destination). This is a valuable aid in preventing and resolving disputes, having the potential to reduce property casualty insurance costs and litigation costs.
Once the delivery is complete, the transporter may select complete delivery 1904. In order to complete a load, the transporter may first type their full name and then sign with their finger on the smart phone to complete the load. Optionally, this confirmation may be done without a written signature with other methods such as biometric identification, such as facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, or any other suitable verification method.
Optionally, the transporter can also cancel the load from this page. If they need additional support, there is a link at the bottom of that screen for support.
In one implementation, the transporter can tap the conversation button 1806 to access the chat functionality to communicate or see conversation that has occurred on that particular load between the parties.
When a load is completed, the system may automatically electronically pay the transporter through payment information supplied by the transporter to the system. In one implementation, this payout is approved by an administrator before paying directly to the transporter.
When the load is completed, the user may optionally rate the transporter, for example, with a rating of one to five stars. This rating is displayed to administrators, and may be displayed to dealers. This rating can be used by administrators or dealers to, for example, only use good or highly rated transporters, or potentially deactivate the accounts of transporters whose ratings are consistently low.
The transporter drives to pick up the vehicle(s) in the shipment, and upon arrival, the transporter captures the video BOL for each vehicle (step 2106). Then the transporter drives to deliver the vehicle(s) and the transporter device 104 transmits the transporter'"'"'s while in transit (2108) for display to the customer. This way, the user or dealer can know where their vehicles are automatically and accurately.
Next, upon arrival and delivery at the drop off address, the transporter may take another video BOL of the vehicle(s) which is uploaded to the system (step 2110). The transporter may get a signature to complete the delivery, or optionally complete the delivery without a signature. The system then sends a delivery confirmation to dealer (step 2112). If the dealer was not charged already, the system may then charge the dealer and send payment to the transporter electronically (2114). The system then then sends invoice to dealer (2116).
When a transporter first accesses the mobile app or website, the transporter will have the option to either login or create a new account (not shown). They may tap the sign up button to create the account. Once their account has been created, in one implementation, a screen may appear that it is pending verification. The transporter may be sent see a message that they will be informed as to when it has been approved. In the meantime, they may be taken through steps to complete their insurance information and set up their pay out method. Checkmarks may appear next to the steps that have been completed already. If the transporter has completed the steps necessary on their end and are just waiting for account admin verification, the screen may indicate that with checkmarks highlighted on what they have completed. The transporter does have the option to add their insurance information and pay out method later in the profile creation, but, in one implementation, they may not be able to accept a shipment until their account is complete and verified.
During the process, the transporter may be asked to add their insurance carrier information, their insurance policy number, Employer Identification Number (EIN) for payment processes and financial reporting. Within their profile, they can edit the information as well. In one implementation, before accepting any vehicles, the transporter must input their bank account information for payout. Once they have entered their information and their bank account has been verified, they will see a confirmation screen that shows the bank account connected. In one implementation, any other suitable method of payment may be used, such as credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets, electronic systems such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or any other electronic method of payment. This allows the system to make payouts for completed orders. The transporter may be asked to enable push notifications for the app so that they are alerted when an order request comes through, when they have a new message in their conversations, or if a gate pass has been uploaded.
Users or transporters may optionally be provided the ability to invite other team members from their companies.
In some embodiments, although shown above as the user entering the vehicle shipment information, the shipment information may also be imported automatically instead or in addition. For example, the system may receive the information on vehicles to ship directly from another computer system such as a dealer management system (DMS). This would reduce even the time of entry for someone automatically shipping vehicles. This may be done, for example, with integrating into the API'"'"'s of the other system, such as a DMS system, into the server 108 or computer system 101.
The system may also provide a dealer with a summary of their transactions and invoices to assist with accounting.
In one embodiment, the system may be adapted for delivery of other transported items, such as horse transportation, to deliver horses instead of vehicles.
The present disclosure may be realized in hardware, or a combination of hardware and software. The present disclosure may be realized in a centralized fashion, in at least one computer system, or in a distributed fashion, where different elements may be spread across several interconnected computer systems. A computer system or other apparatus adapted for carrying out the methods described herein may be suited. A combination of hardware and software may be a general-purpose computer system with a computer program that, when loaded and executed, may control the computer system such that it carries out the methods described herein. The present disclosure may be realized in hardware that comprises a portion of an integrated circuit that also performs other functions.
While various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed herein, other aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The various aspects and embodiments disclosed herein are for purposes of illustration and are not intended to be limiting, with the true scope and spirit being indicated by the following claims.