A Review of Further Directions for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in Smart Logistics

A Review of Further Directions for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in Smart Logistics

Table of Contents


Industry 4.0 concepts and technologies ensure the ongoing development of microand macro-economic entities by focusing on the principles of interconnectivity, digitalization, and automation. In this context, artificial intelligence is seen as one of the major enablers for Smart Logistics and Smart Production initiatives. This paper systematically analyzes the scientific literature on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning in the context of Smart Logistics management in industrial enterprises. Furthermore, based on the results of the systematic literature review, the authors present a conceptual framework, which provides fruitful implications based on recent research findings and insights to be used for directing and starting future research initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) in Smart Logistics.


artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, smart logistics, logistics 4.0


The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) comprises a set of concepts and technologies that should be used to strengthen the competitiveness of industrial enterprises by referring to the concepts of interconnectivity, digitalization, and automation [1–4]. In this context, Smart Logistics aims at the successful implementation of intelligent and lean supply chains based on agile and cooperative networks and interlinked organizations. Furthermore, information exchange is established through the usage of modern information and communication technologies (ICT), data networks, actors and sensors, and automatic identification and material tracking technologies. Moreover, automated transport, transition, and storage systems, supported by autonomous transport vehicles, should enable a partial and/or complete self-control of systems [2,4–6].

Furthermore, Smart Logistics can be implemented by using the technological concepts of cyber-physical systems (CPS), the internet of things (IoT), respectively as the industrial internet of things (IIoT), and the physical internet (PI) [2]. Besides the implementation of the technological concepts, the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning concepts can be considered as one of the most important success factors within the process of the digital transformation [7].

In this context, artificial intelligence (AI) can be defined as the science and engineering of intelligent machines with a special focus on intelligent computer programs [8]. Machine learning (ML) is considered as an integral part of AI, which refers to the automated detection of meaningful patterns in datasets. ML tools aim to increase the efficiency of algorithms by ensuring the ability to learn and adapt based on big-data analytics [9]. Moreover, deep learning (DL), is defined as a sub-class of ML within the AI-technologies that explores many layers of non-linear information processing for supervised and/or unsupervised features extraction and transformation, and for pattern analyses and classification [10,11].

In recent years, AI, ML, and DL have gained increasing relevance in a multitude of research fields such as engineering, medicine, economics, and business management as well as in marketing [12–15]. However, to the best of our knowledge, a holistic study on the usage of AI, ML, and DL in the context of Smart Logistics in industrial enterprises is currently missing in the scientific literature. Therefore, the authors conduct a systematic literature review on AI, ML, and DL technologies in the timeframe from 2014 to 2019. The identified studies can be used to provide an overview of research on these emerging topics that can be used as a starting point for further studies in the area of Smart Logistics later on.

This paper is structured as follows. Section 2 describes the selected research methodology and methods of this study as well as the detailed process steps of the systematic literature review. Section 3 presents a descriptive analysis and the content analysis of the identified studies. Section 4 introduces the conceptual framework of AI, ML, and DL approaches in the research area of Smart Logistics in industrial enterprises. Section 5 contains a discussion of the research findings. Section 6 summarizes the implications for both future research initiatives and practical applications, and the limitations of this research study. The final Section 7 briefly concludes by reflecting on the main contributions of this paper.


In the context of Smart Logistics, the application of AI, ML, and DL technologies is still in an early stage of development. Most of the identified studies are concepts, laboratory experiments, or in a very early testing phase. Mature industrial applications are still missing. However, the continuous reporting of machine settings, machine states, quality parameter settings, predictive maintenance, decision-making support systems, advanced scheduling, planning, and control approaches in the research fields of inventory management, flow shop problems, traditional job shop scheduling problems, production process optimization, and the improvement of operational logistics processes, e.g., identification and tracking approaches, can be seen as promising areas within the Smart Logistics framework.

The findings of this research study should be used as a starting point for future investigations regarding the application of AI, ML, and DL technologies in the area of Smart Logistics in industrial enterprises, and provide a framework for practitioners in industrial companies for the successful implementation of state-of-the-art technologies as well. Therefore, it is important to integrate different research areas, e.g., information technology, logistics, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, mathematics, and statistics, into future research projects.

About KSRA

The Kavian Scientific Research Association (KSRA) is a non-profit research organization to provide research / educational services in December 2013. The members of the community had formed a virtual group on the Viber social network. The core of the Kavian Scientific Association was formed with these members as founders. These individuals, led by Professor Siavosh Kaviani, decided to launch a scientific / research association with an emphasis on education.

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FULL Paper PDF file:

A Review of Further Directions for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in Smart Logistics



Manuel Woschank, Erwin Rauch, Helmut Zsifkovits




A Review of Further Directions for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in Smart Logistics

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Industry 4.0 for SMEs – Smart Manufacturing and Logistics for SMEs



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Nasim Gazerani was born in 1983 in Arak. She holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering from UM University of Malaysia.

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Professor Siavosh Kaviani was born in 1961 in Tehran. He had a professorship. He holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from the QL University of Software Development Methodology and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Chelsea.

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Somayeh Nosrati was born in 1982 in Tehran. She holds a Master's degree in artificial intelligence from Khatam University of Tehran.

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