NZX-listed freight software developer Eroad is working with Microsoft on generative AI product development.
The company told shareholders today it would be developing new products and features using Microsoft’s generative AI to deliver innovative user experiences.
The move was part of the company's growth strategy, which includes an active search for strategic partnerships in the high growth North American market and building in-market sales capabilities and expertise.
Microsoft enables Eroad to use AI to assist further development of CoreTemp, which it described as high value-added predictive analytics software for refrigerated vehicles and trailers.
"Our mission is to provide businesses with the intelligence to help them deliver a better and more sustainable world," said CEO Mark Heine.
"We have been actively looking for collaborations to help drive our growth strategy, and who better to partner with than Microsoft?"
The collaboration wouldn't just speed up product development and open new segments, but would also deliver functionality that could benefit New Zealand and Australian customers as well, Heine said.
"We are thrilled to work with Eroad, a leader in sustainability and fleet management solutions, to accelerate their AI innovation and transformation," said Vanessa Sorenson, managing director of Microsoft New Zealand.
"Eroad is a great example of how Microsoft's cloud and AI platforms can empower businesses to harness the power of data and AI to create new value and experiences for their customers."
Eroad will deliver AI-powered tools such as: dashboards to generate customised, interactive reports and insights based on user preferences and feedback; voice assistants that provide hands-free and conversational access to Eroad's products and services, such as navigation, alerts, and analytics; and image recognition that detects and classifies objects and events from cameras installed on the vehicles.
Eroad recently ran a companywide AI Innovation event with Microsoft where teams of developers, data scientists and user experience specialists developed projects using Microsoft Azure and AI services.
Eraod said two resulting projects would bring significant benefits by mid 2024.
Examples of the early benefits of the collaboration include AI Digital Advisor, which leverages generative AI to act as a strategic consultant for fleet operations by analysing telematics data.
Eroad said it had already seen great benefit from AI adoption in product development with GitHub Copilot, an AI-powered coding assistant, for its developers.
GitHub Copilot helps developers write better code faster by suggesting relevant code snippets based on the context and intent of the code.
Over 40 per cent of new code and 70 per cent of unit tests are being written by AI, resulting in improved quality, efficiency, and speed to market.
Tim Mole, CTO of Eroad, said GitHub Copilot had been a game-changer.
"It has enabled us to deliver more value to our customers faster and with fewer bugs," he said.
"It has also freed up our developers to focus on the more creative and challenging aspects of their work."
Over 40 per cent of new code and 70 per cent of unit tests are being written by AI.
Dairy giant Fonterra is a major local Eroad cutomer.
A five-year deal inked earlier this year is seeing Eroad's electronic road user charges and in-vehicle driver monitoring hardware installed as well as high-definition dual-facing dashcams to gather accident evidence.