Less than a fifth of transport companies in the UK are relying on artificial intelligence (AI) for data analytics, demand forecasting and fleet route optimisation, according to a survey.

Here Technologies, a location data and tech platform, said its research showed there was a significant gap in the adoption of AI in this country and underscored the untapped potential of machine learning to fine tune algorithms for fleet route optimisation and modernising logistics operations.

The survey also found 50% of UK logistics firms are utilising basic data analytics, which is more than in Germany (41%) but less than US firms (63%).

Here Technologies said its research identified barriers to general data technology implementation, with cost cited as the primary obstacle (26%) and 13% stating that a lack of internal expertise or resources was the problem.

More than three quarters (76%) said they would rather rely on an external provider than develop capabilities in-house.

“On one hand, this study shows the progress being made by companies towards increasing their supply chain visibility,” said Remco Timmer, VP of product management at Here Technologies.

“On the other hand, it’s clear the industry currently lacks the contextual data, AI capabilities and tools needed to optimise fleet deployments, routing, and appropriate mode switching.

“As a result, we’re seeing increased demand for location data and services that enable logistics companies to overcome disruptions in real-time while reducing emissions and improving employee safety in the process.”