Like all industries, the commercial fleet industry has been impacted by the cataclysmic event of the COVID-19 that has initiated unprecedented and profound shifts in the market. For the fleet industry, the pandemic has resulted in a bombardment of challenges, including a massive upswing in increased orders as people habits transformed almost overnight.
Although some shifts are temporary, others will remain long past the pandemic is well and truly gone. In the coming years, agility will be the key to the success of fleet companies and they will look be looking to assess the changing environment and coming up with innovative new solutions to meet challenges. Most fleet companies are in agreement that to overcome the demand and supply changes, they need to evolve their technologies and become more resilient in the coming years.
Below are some of the new fleet technology that we believe will benefit the commercial fleet industry.
Hybrid Electric System for Sustainability Goals
Transitioning to a hybrid electric system is one of the best ways for commercial pickup truck fleets to meet their sustainability goals and improve their fuel economy, without sacrificing the performance of the vehicle. These systems are engineered to save on gas and reduce emissions through innovative technology like a regenerative braking system that helps to propel and slow down the track during a normal drive cycle. In addition, drivers can also benefit from the smooth and seamless electric motor assist.
Currently, vehicle manufacturers are on the road to developing a full electric platform that will power some of the popular medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks on the road.
Self-Driving Technology Will Continue to Transform Fleet Management
Although it is true that there is still a lot of time for Level 5 vehicles to become mainstream, many of the technologies developed for autonomous driving can already be seen on commercial fleets. One of the useful features that pickup trucks are already using includes adaptive cruise control, which allows the truck to maintain a minimum distance from a vehicle in front of you even when it changes its speed.
Another extremely useful feature is the automatic emergency braking system, which can apply the brakes in case of an emergency situation, like a collision, thanks to its sensors. Pickup trucks are also integrating blind-spot monitoring, which can alert you if you might be in danger of colliding with another vehicle when changing lanes, as well as lane departure warnings, which alert you if you drift in between the lanes, in conjunction with lane-keeping assistance, which automatically corrects your steering to keep you in one lane if you are drifting.
Telematics For Improving Fleet Intelligence
Fleet managers who are looking to aid and support very specific fleet needs will find a lot of benefits to be gained by using telematics that can offer them an unprecedented insight into their drivers’ vehicle operating behaviors. Solutions in this category will be centered around driver safety, vehicle idling, driver productivity, speed, vehicle drive cycle, and carbon dioxide emission reduction.
According to a technology survey conducted by Bobit Business Media based on 2020 data, it was found that there was an 8% increase in the number of fleets that used telematics and they observed increased improvement in areas like productivity, customer service, and routing. In addition, fleet managers also saw an 8% increase in fuel efficiency, a 10% decrease in labor costs, and an 11% decline in accident-related costs.
Adoption of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Vision
Combining artificial intelligence and machine vision will offer fleet managers easier access to multiple aspects of their fleet operations. An example of this is the current distracted-driving algorithm integrated into many new trucks that can detect and deter smoking, eating, and the use of mobile devices in real-time.
In the coming years, AI and MV will become more advanced and will be able to optimize fuel and other resources in a predictive way and in real-time, rather than in static. Systems will be designed to detect engine problems before even drives notice them, making repair and maintenance more targeted and faster. As machine vision gets more advanced at recognizing facial expressions and objects, it can be used to determine whether drivers are driving under the influence by checking pupil dilation and other visible signs. As these techniques continue to improve, AI and MV will become more precise for delivering value.
Sensors Will Continue to Dominate the Commercial Fleet Industry
The number of sensors that are both in-built and can be added on the commercial trucks is growing at a fantastic rate — and so are their capabilities. These sensors not just help fleet managers keep a check on their fleet, but they are now also increasingly being used to monitor goods being transported across the lifecycle of the products.
Sensors can now be used in the fleet to find out anything, including the temperature, pressure, and humidity in the cargo, location, and speed. One existing example is the need to track the temperature of vaccines and other temperature-sensitive medications as they make their way across the supply change. We expect these technologies to expand into more sophisticated horizons, including radar, video, lidar, and more.
Better Mobile Connectivity Will Result in Continued Improvements
Continued advancements in 4G and 5G technology will allow fleet managers to use cloud-computing resources to push decision-making closer to the field. They can keep getting new software innovations that can improve performance without constantly upgrading the hardware.
Continued improvements in 4G and the soon-to-be-available coast-to-coast 5G technology will improve video and live streaming quality, facilitating big volumes of data that could allow further innovation based on the data coming back and facilitating vehicle-to-everything communication.
Shared Mobility Will Emerge as an Option for Commercial Fleets
The concept of shared mobility has already transformed the passenger transit industry. It now also has the potential to change the commercial delivery industry by offering flexible cargo movement, efficient allocation of resources, cargo capacity, and dynamic supply chain management.
This can be done with the support of integrated platforms that can help fleet managers connect internal technologies as well as gain access to external applications and resources while ensuring the technology can be integrated.
The constantly-evolving market borne from the COVID-19’s dramatic shifts demands that fleet managers use technology not just for the sake of using technology. Rather, technology is now more necessary than ever in helping fleets become more adaptive, agile, resourceful, and hence more competitive in the coming years.