The automotive industry is facing profound changes in coming years. With trends such as the Hyperloop and autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for fleet managers to understand the potential of these seismic shifts, and how to incorporate them into their fleet management strategies.
While many of these new technologies still seem like science fiction, smart companies are paying attention and forming strategies to ensure they are not left behind. Here are the top four ways that fleet management is set to transform by 2020.
1. The Connected Car
Today’s automobiles are more than just an engine and passenger compartment on wheels. Many of the cars for sale today are extremely advanced, with computing power equivalent to 20 personal computers and the ability to process as much as 25 gigabytes of data an hour. By definition, a connected car is any motor vehicle that can utilize internet technology and wireless data sharing to perform and improve upon various functions. The benefits of this technology on its own are clear: with vehicle status, location, and more available anywhere at anytime, fleet management becomes a highly responsive real time activity, boosting efficiency and productivity. But how does the connected car benefit fleet managers when we look at the other upcoming trends below?
2. Automated Vehicles
AVs are being tested all over the world and are close to commercial release. When this happens, the impact on the transportation landscape will be enormous—but what exactly are the implications when it comes to fleet management? Once vehicles integrate with artificial intelligence, they will be able to independently analyze and manage data, which has major implications for fleet managers. Connected cars are already able to monitor their own health and predict maintenance requirements. When AI enters the equation, vehicles could even schedule their own appointments with a mechanic and drive themselves to the auto shop. A connected AV could also monitor traffic in real time, selecting more efficient routes on the fly. With the right technology in place, the fleet manager’s role is about to become a lot more efficient.
3. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)
With the rise of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft in the last half-decade, transportation is becoming an on-demand service, resulting in fewer personally owned vehicles. When it comes to fleet management, MaaS plays an important role in how fleets will be provided and managed in the future. Today, most companies have their own fleet of company vehicles, but in coming years, they may rely on car sharing to meet their transportation needs. In Europe, a new concept called mobility management is redefining the role of the fleet manager: rather than overseeing the use of the company’s vehicles, mobility management encourages employees to choose the most efficient and sustainable mode of transportation available, and rewards them with various incentives.
With connected, autonomous vehicles moving vast amounts of people and goods, the amount of data at the fleet manager’s fingertips will be substantial. Telematics in vehicles—systems which collect a wide range of information, from the condition of the engine to the location of the car—are nothing new. But in the near future, their sophistication is going to increase dramatically. Fleet managers will be able to monitor a range vehicle statistics in real time, including who is driving, where they go, at what speed, and more. This data—like virtually any personal or corporate information—will become valuable to hackers. As recent as this year, Uber was involved in a massive data breach. Fleet managers will be responsible to ensure that their company’s data is well protected to avoid both the legal implications and the negative publicity of being hacked.
Meeting the Changing Needs of Fleet Management
As new transportation-related technologies are developed at an unprecedented rate, it’s imperative that fleet managers incorporate latest trends and tools effectively. With the right strategies in place, transportation companies can ensure their fleets drive smoothly into the future.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Brett Barnhill