Be­lieve the hype

Con­nected fleet will give man­agers op­ti­mum ve­hi­cle con­trol and un­der­stand­ing

Australian Transport News - - Contents - WORDS CHRISTO­PHER CHIS­MAN-DUFFY

Con­nected eet will give man­agers op­ti­mum ve­hi­cle con­trol and un­der­stand­ing

Au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles seem to be all the rage of late – from flash cars through to in­tel­li­gent heavy ve­hi­cles.

A num­ber of uni­ver­si­ties, man­u­fac­tur­ers and tech­nol­ogy ven­dors are rac­ing to be in pole po­si­tion with this new tech­nol­ogy.

Tesla ex­pects its au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles to be on the road in the next two years, Ford has said fi ve, and there are now au­ton­o­mous buses roam­ing the roads in Perth. But what does an au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle mean for fl eet man­agers?

In re­al­ity, we are long be­fore the point where we have au­ton­o­mous trucks on our high­ways. They still need to be com­mer­cially vi­able, reg­u­la­tions still need to be put into place to en­sure safety, and in­fra­struc­ture will need to be up­dated to sup­port the tran­si­tion, amongst other things.

Be­fore we get au­ton­o­mous fleets, there is an­other step in the evo­lu­tion of the fl eet ve­hi­cle and one that needs to be taken to­day if your busi­ness is to suc­cess­fully pre­pare for the au­ton­o­mous fu­ture. En­ter ‘ the con­nected ve­hi­cle’, which is grow­ing at 10 times the rate of the over­all mar­ket.

What is a con­nected ve­hi­cle and how does it all re­late to trucks and fleet man­age­ment? The term re­lates specif­i­cally to how data is col­lected from a ve­hi­cle and shared with other de­vices.

The tech­nol­ogy is of­ten sup­ported by a telem­at­ics plat­form, where data can be man­aged and ap­pli­ca­tions can be de­vel­oped to de­liver a range of ben­e­fits to the driver.

The con­cept of the con­nected ve­hi­cle won’t be new to those read­ing this; it has been around for some time in the form of fleet man­age­ment.

The black box, in­stalled in the ve­hi­cle af­ter sale, which col­lects in­for­ma­tion about the ve­hi­cle (po­si­tion, mileage etc.) and of­ten di­rectly from the ve­hi­cle’s on-board com­puter sys­tem, is noth­ing new but the level of so­phis­ti­ca­tion avail­able to­day and what we will see in the com­ing years will be a game changer for fl eet man­agers.

Al­though many of the new in­no­va­tions may seem a long way off, at TomTom Telem­at­ics we have al­ready seen a num­ber of new ap­pli­ca­tions de­vel­oped and in­te­grated into the telem­at­ics plat­form, util­is­ing the data it pro­vides.


Op­er­at­ing large truck­ing or heavy goods fleets can be costly when time is lost on the road. One wrong turn or driv­ing straight into a traf­fic jam not only in­creases labour costs but also fuel con­sump­tion, main­te­nance costs and ad­min­is­tra­tion costs as­so­ci­ated with miss­ing de­liv­ery times­lots.

The con­nected truck can help to re­duce these costs sig­nif­i­cantly and can do so to­day. By preload­ing ac­cess re­stric­tions, in­clud­ing di­men­sions, weight and haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als of each in­di­vid­ual trip and load, the con­nected ve­hi­cle will en­able driv­ers to avoid bridges, small streets, sharp turns, U-turns and re­stricted roads as much as pos­si­ble, en­sur­ing a smoother jour­ney as well as help­ing keep driv­ers and cargo safe by avoid­ing po­ten­tially risky routes.

As the ‘in­ter­net of things’ trend ma­tures, it will take this even fur­ther, par­tic­u­larly when in­te­grated into street-side in­fra­struc­ture.

Fed up of shift work and wait­ing at a red light at 2am when there are ab­so­lutely no cars or peo­ple around? That’s soon to be a thing of the past as trucks will be able to com­mu­ni­cate di­rectly with transport in­fra­struc­ture. In­stead of hav­ing to stop, the con­nected truck could com­mu­ni­cate with the traf­fic light and let it know when to change.

Sim­i­larly, so­phis­ti­cated al­go­rithms could use speed, route and lane data to in­struct ve­hi­cles to ma­noeu­vre in the right way to help max­imise traf­fic flow, im­prove travel times and fa­cil­i­tate re­duced fuel con­sump­tion. That’s ex­cel­lent news for man­agers and driv­ers alike, im­prov­ing ef­fi­ciency and re­duc­ing the bot­tom line price of run­ning a fl eet of ve­hi­cles.

So, not only will con­nected ve­hi­cles help driv­ers get from A to B as effi ciently as pos­si­ble us­ing the best routes, they will also sig­nif­i­cantly change the way driv­ers in­ter­act with the road.


We’re not nec­es­sar­ily vir­tu­al­is­ing the trucks them­selves and put­ting them in the cloud, but ev­ery­thing the driver needs or will

“Data can be man­aged and ap­pli­ca­tions can be de­vel­oped to de­liver a range of benets to the driver”

Op­po­site top: Driv­ers will be able to se­lect and set pretty much ev­ery­thing in the cabin – from driv­ing mode, mir­rors, seat po­si­tion and in­fo­tain­ment – by voice or touch of a screen or but­ton

Above and be­low: Not here yet, but only a mat­ter of time when fully au­ton­o­mous trucks rule the road

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