The fleet management industry is in a period of great change currently. Legislative, environmental, economic, and other factors are pushing change at an impressive rate. Fortunately, fleet management technology is keeping pace and helping fleet managers.
While the trend of many fleets moving towards electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions is one that many people (and fleet managers) are focused on, there are significant trends right now in advanced technologies that are being leveraged to improve driver safety.
Fleet managers need to stay current on the ongoing advancements to try to remain competitive, and offer a safer environment for drivers and operators. Fleet management software that leverages telematics technology is becoming mainstream, and is expected to become standard, even for small fleets.
Remote fleet management is clearly the future for fleet managers, with technologies that allow for real time data and visibility, plus automated analysis for instant, informed decisions.
Fleet managers can not only enhance operational efficiency with these solutions, but use them to increase safety.
Some significant fleet management trends that are boosting a company's safety initiative efforts.
Vehicle tracking with GPS enables route optimization to lower fuel consumption costs and speed up deliveries reliably for customer satisfaction. It also is very helpful in preventing theft and unauthorized usage, or retrieving stolen vehicles.
With improving telematics, coupled with GPS tracking, driver behavior can now be monitored for speeding, harsh braking, and other poor driving habits.
The ability to track vehicles can improve safety, speed up response times in case of collision, and even improve working alone safety measures with personal trackers that are linked to vehicle location but track when drivers leave the vehicle.
This trend of leveraging GPS and telematics functionality for new and creative uses is likely to continue. They can help drivers avoid traffic congestion, potentially dangerous slow-downs, and other negative situations. Autonomous vehicles are already starting to make their appearance, so in certain fleet management market types, driverless vehicles may start to be a legitimate option.
Younger generations in the workforce resist traditional enforcement of company rules without being given a reason. While all employees want to be safe, motivating good driving habits for driver safety has remained a concern for fleet managers.
A trend has been to use video cab cams to monitor driver behavior. In North America, millions of dashboard and cab cams have been installed in fleet vehicles in the past couple of years, and this is expected to continue.
These provide evidence in liability concerns, and can help lower insurance rates, too.
Video technology allows fleet managers to monitor for risky driver behavior and offer incentives for good driver performance. It can create the ability for alerts if drivers show signs of fatigue or drift out of lanes. Distracted driving such as cell phone usage and smoking can also be identified. However, some drivers are resistant to being monitored, feeling it is an invasion.
A solution to create more buy-in that is expected in the future of fleet management is gamification. Telematics technology allows not only for in-cab automated coaching, but for solutions that can make good driving safe, competitive and fun. The key reason for video cameras for trying to get the drivers to accept that it is for their safety too, is that the cameras capture what happens beside them as evidence to it not being the driver's fault. Historically, insurance companies paid out for accident claims, now with camera evidence they have proof of who's fault it was. If drivers reduce fuel consumption and avoid risky driving behavior, this will be rewarded.
From the early days of sensor alarms on vehicles to alert when backing up too close to an object, there have been significant advancements in predictive technologies to help drivers avoid collisions. Technologies can now alert if a driver drifts out of a lane, is turning or changing lanes with another vehicle in proximity, and can even predict potential collisions and take preventative actions such as braking.
These technologies are likely to become more sophisticated and more common in usage, just as the sensor alerts are now on almost every vehicle.
Artificial intelligence allows proactive predictive maintenance through telematics technology, using engine fault codes and other telematics data, is starting to become more common, and is expected to rise in use, not only to reduce maintenance costs, but to provide safer vehicles for drivers, with fewer breakdowns or other concerns that can put a driver at risk.
In Canada and the USA, electronic logging devices (ELDs) are mandated, and a current trend is to have ELD devices that go beyond minimal compliance, to having ones that alert when approaching maximum hours of service and offer reporting capabilities for better planning, and using devices that are fully integrated into overall operational systems.
Connected Vehicles offers innovative, comprehensive fleet management solutions. Investing in agile, scalable solutions that allow your fleet to adopt beneficial new technologies as they become available is an excellent strategy for staying competitive. The future trend is that ELD/GPS tracking devices aren't just for transportation fleets, but delivery, field services, golf carts, boats, agriculture, landscape, and construction industries, too. We can help you find the right solutions to give you the flexibility and performance you need.