How to Develop a Comprehensive Fleet Optimization Program?

The fleet manager’s guide to making modern fleets efficient.

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How to Develop a Comprehensive Fleet Optimization Program?

The fleet manager’s guide to making modern fleets efficient.

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DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

In 2022, data is a staple resource for all industries. In fleet management, specifically, it provides priceless insights into optimizing all aspects of operations. Armed with a thorough understanding of the driver behavior and driving context, fleet managers can improve decision-making in fleet safety, eco-efficiency, vehicle wear, predictive maintenance, vehicle composition, and sustainable transport. Pulling actionable insights from data is also instrumental in designing strategies to combat current challenges, whether the rising demand for last-mile deliveries, surging costs, or driver shortages. 

Verizon Connect found that 90% of fleets using GPS tracking software deemed it beneficial to tackle their challenges and protect revenue. Moreover, nearly half of transportation and distribution managers have used telematics solutions to improve routing (and derive all the related benefits). At the same time, close to 60% of them said this technology had helped them enhance customer service.

Other sources also attest to the positive effects of telematics software adoption on fleets, pointing out the following advantages of a well-designed and implemented data-driven fleet optimization program:

  1. Telematics systems for connected fleets can reduce the vehicle’s travel to the site by 68%.
  2. A 10% improvement in driver safety score translates to an 8% reduction in preventable accidents.
  3. Fleet telematics can improve operational productivity by 10-15%, equal to 20-30 minutes/day/driver in labor savings.
  4. Promoting better driving practices based on telematics can generate up to 25% savings on fuel expenses.

These benefits apart, new applications of fleet optimization solutions are constantly emerging. Data used to feed analytics engines is abundant and offers unlimited insights, but a powerful AI-driven software solution is vital to turn them into a competitive advantage. 

We’ve got it, so get in touch with us right away if you’re ready to step up your data-driven journey. We will invite you to a short demo call presenting the revenue-boosting capabilities of our fleet optimization software. 

However, if you’re still hesitant about fleet telematics, its principles, core uses, and specific applications, you’re in the right place!

We have built this guide for professionals like you to explain the crucial elements of an efficient fleet optimization program and point to solutions you can apply to make it as valuable as it gets. So, if you are looking to answer questions like ‘How to improve fleet management?‘ or ‘How to implement fleet management software?‘, carry on reading!

Table of Content

Chapter One

What’s fleet management?

Any organization that needs commercial vehicles to function engages in some form of fleet operations and management. The purpose is to oversee and optimize all fleet performance and maintenance to increase productivity and help a business run smoothly.

Fleet managers are in charge of fleet operations and might be tasked with responsibilities that include:

  1. vehicle acquisition and sales,
  2. fleet management and maintenance, 
  3. overseeing fuel consumption and costs, 
  4. managing and training drivers, 
  5. providing safety,
  6. asset utilization, 
  7. expense tracking,
  8. cost optimization,
  9. route planning, 
  10. and the implementation of any programs that increase company productivity and decrease waste.

Fleet managers leverage vehicle telematics systems connected to fleet management software to coordinate all these tasks efficiently. Such a combination of intelligent hardware and modern, AI-driven software provides a wide range of benefits for businesses that operate a fleet of vehicles. 

Fleet management platforms can digitize entire fleet operations, from route and maintenance planning, through dispatch and job management, to driver safety and training. By providing managers with real-time or near real-time visibility into all details regarding their fleet, they increase the efficiency and speed of decision-making. 

Integrated with other systems and available on mobile apps, fleet management software facilitates the flow of information within the company. It provides all the insights data managers and drivers need at their fingertips. These and other advantages of fleet management solutions also translate to reduced downtime, streamlined processes, and lower operational costs.

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Vehicle Telematics Devices

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Fleets Telematics Software

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Benefits of Fleet Telematics

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Chapter Two

The State Of Fleet Management in 2022

In the last few years, digital transformation has been affecting every industry. It has also exerted great influence on the transportation and fleet management sector, contributing to the development of vehicle automation, IoT, and mobility solutions. Among numerous emerging and maturing technologies that catalyze positive changes in fleets, several are particularly effective in unlocking new sources of revenue from data. 

Predictive fleet management solutions

Historically, fleet management and maintenance software were largely reactive and usually provided a more or less up-to-date inventory snapshot and a financial module. In contrast, modern fleet management platforms have assumed a much more proactive role, enabled by the cloud, mobility systems, AI, and other innovations. 

Focusing on the future, they provide predictive capabilities, analyzing current data from multiple sources to make predictions about costs, maintenance, emissions, or safety. The ability to anticipate and address issues before they arise based on multi-dimensional insights gives fleet managers an upper hand in their dealings with competitors.

A shift toward electric fleets

Another trend anticipated to take over this year and beyond is the increasing share of electric cars in fleets. 2022 is seen as a year of testing and setting up the infrastructure required to connect global fleets to the electric grid; EV fleets will reach a turning point in 2024. Why this year specifically? 

For once, the number of EV cars available on the US market is forecast to double in 2024. Secondly, the producers of fast-charging EV batteries also anticipate entering mass production within the next two years. Finally, as battery prices continue to fall (between 2010 and 2020, the price of lithium-ion battery packs decreased by 89%!), top vehicle manufacturers like GM, Volvo, and Toyota voice their preference for battery-electric cars over other eco options.

Remote fleet management

This trend gained importance during COVID-19 but will likely continue strong. That’s because up to 30% of the US workforce is expected to work remotely or in the hybrid mode post-pandemic. In this context, leveraging secure online and mobile fleet management solutions will give fleets more freedom in recruiting, training, and retaining qualified staff.

Expansion of vehicle telematics solutions

While traditional telematics solutions are relatively widespread (in 2020, 72% of fleets used a fleet tracking technology), enhancements are still on the way. The goal is to provide managers with as detailed fleet information as possible. In addition, the adoption of robust data analytics and AI solutions and the growing availability of 5G catalyzes the increasing relevancy of real-time, data-based fleet solutions. As a result, researchers expect the smart fleet management market to reach $98.66 million by 2027, almost a triple growth from 2019 ($38.25 million).

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Chapter Three

Top Challenges Faced By Fleet Optimization Managers

Fleet management is a complex and cross-functional role. It combines routine maintenance tasks and keeping the fleet on the road with juggling diverse priorities. While coping with various, sometimes conflicting, demands of drivers, suppliers, and stakeholders, fleet managers can easily get into a rut and lose track of the quick pace of change their job involves. 

Fleet management solutions can help them make their work more manageable. These data-driven platforms provide insights essential to optimizing fleet usage and composition with less effort and better outcomes. They are particularly effective when it comes to dealing with the following challenges that beset fleet managers:

Ensuring and improving driver safety

A major challenge for fleet companies is keeping drivers safe. But ensuring safe driver behavior at all times can be difficult, particularly when fleet managers are hundreds of miles away from the moving vehicle. 

Fortunately, they have many mobility tools like dash cams or vehicle tracking systems at their disposal. These solutions bring real-time visibility into an otherwise remote car. But, more importantly, when integrated with driver safety analytics software, these systems provide data for personalized driver coaching that can mitigate up to 60% of the fleet’s risk exposure.

Reducing driver churn rates

Driver shortages affect trucking and last-mile delivery industries in many countries. To put it into perspective, in 2021, US trucking companies suffered a record deficit of 80,000 drivers. Meanwhile, 38% of last-mile shipping companies in North America quoted getting a qualified driver as their number one challenge. 

These numbers prove that stabilizing and increasing driver retention is a priority for fleet managers. Of course, remuneration plays a part in keeping qualified drivers in, but so do mentorship programs, improving workplace conditions, or building stronger trust between drivers and management. Again, data insights can help deliver on these goals.

Keeping a watchful eye on the fleet

To operate their fleets effectively, managers need to know exactly where each vehicle is at any given time. And tracking all vehicle locations can be demanding, no matter if a fleet includes five cars or 5,000. As a result, relying on GPS technology to determine the vehicle’s location and status has become a standard in fleet management. 

However, savvy fleet operators implement smart telematics solutions to get out the most of the location data. Integrated with GPS solutions, map providers, mobile SDKs, and telematics devices, fleet optimization analytics systems deliver impactful insights on driver safety, eco-efficiency, vehicle maintenance, and fleet composition, among others.

Ensuring Electronic Logging Device (ELD) compliance

Legal requirements apply in various countries that enforce using ELD hardware by fleets to control and regulate drivers’ working hours. For example, the ELD mandate went into effect in the USA in December 2017, while most European countries have made digital tachographs mandatory for commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 3.5 tons. 

For fleets subject to the mandate, managers must implement compliant systems to ensure they accurately record drive time. They can also bundle logging devices with telematics solutions to augment compliance with efficiency and cost optimization.

Reducing fleet management cost

It’s up to fleet managers to identify and weed out unnecessary expenses for more cost-efficient fleet operations. Adhering to budgets is non-negotiable, but operational, fuel, and maintenance costs can quickly add up, especially as petrol prices hit a record high. Whether by instating fuel efficiency programs, modernizing the fleet makeup, or launching eco-driving initiatives, it’s the fleet manager’s responsibility to determine cost-saving solutions and help a company increase productivity. A smart, automated fleet optimization app makes these tasks easier to achieve.

Optimizing the fleet composition

A successful fleet manager must be agile and constantly look to the future for more cost-effective and efficient solutions. Depending on the vehicle type, typically, sedans are cycled at 75,000 miles, while light-duty trucks are at 100,000 miles, which means replacing fleet vehicles every 2-3 years, on average. 

This task might seem daunting, but in fact, it’s manageable. Various data analytics platforms support fleet managers with precise forecasting of fleet vehicle wear and determining the most beneficial purchase or replacement strategy. Moreover, fleet composition analytics systems provide exact, data-based recommendations as to when it pays off to upgrade some vehicles to electric or hybrid models. 

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Chapter Four

How to improve fleet management with vehicle telematics?

Managing a fleet of vehicles is always challenging, no matter the fleet size. And if a solution exists that can make this task easier at a manageable cost, why not leverage it? That is the line of thinking of most fleet operators and managers, which explains why over 75% rely on fleet management software or vehicle telematics system to ease day-to-day operations. 

And even though many vehicles now come with telematics systems built-in as a standard, data-driven fleet solutions constantly evolve. By using more and more sophisticated AI algorithms and operating on a widening range of data, they handle an increasing number of complex use cases, making fleets more reliable and efficient on the one hand, and expediting fleet managers’ work on the other. 

What is car telematics?

The term ‘telematics’ was coined in 1978 to explain the coming computerization of society. Blending the French words télécommunication (“telecommunications”) and l’informatique (“computing science”), it broadly involves the use of computers and telecommunications as a means of transmitting the information. But in the context of fleet management and logistics, telematics traditionally refers to vehicle tracking systems that use hardware mounted in vehicles to capture data regarding the car, driver, and driving environment. 

Telematics data can come from GPS navigation and tracking tools, integrated hands-free cellular devices, wireless communication, and automatic driving assistance systems. Modern telematics platforms also integrate contextual data from maps, weather portals, and apps. Regardless of the solution complexity and the number and type of used sources, telematics always aims to prompt safer driving and improve communication between drivers and dispatch. 

The use of car telematics in fleet management was standardized in 2010 by the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP). The organization worked with Caterpillar, Volvo, John Deere, and other industry leaders to define the best shipping and fleet management practices and create a common data format to retrieve fleet data and send it to telematics software. However, fleet operators can choose AEMP standardized solution or an external 3rd party software, depending on their needs and requirements.

How does vehicle telematics work?

Telematics has been widely adopted in various industries since the turn of the millennium and has provided fleet management businesses with previously unobtainable information about vehicle and driver performance. Using this data has drastically simplified fleet management processes and enabled significant improvements in efficiency and productivity.

Even though modern car telematics solutions use complex data science techniques such as optimization algorithms, predictive and pricing modeling, data discovery, and other advancements, the principle behind their work is quite simple to understand. Overall, they work by capturing vehicle location and activity information through IoT sensors, enhancing it with other data like weather and road conditions, and turning all these inputs into business insights:

 

Data collection

Data Collection

Once a telematics device is installed or hardwired into the vehicles, it can capture both automated (such as locations and date/time) and driver data (login, fatigue status).

Data transmission

Data Transmission

The analytical platform consumes the trips, i.e., sets of locations with a timestamp, speed, lat-long, bearing rate, etc., generated by the telematics device via API.

Data analysis

Data Analysis

The analytical platform consumes the trips, i.e., sets of locations with a timestamp, speed, lat-long, bearing rate, etc., generated by the telematics device via API.

Data augmentation

Data Augmentation

Next, it augments the trip (adds the context on top), profiles the journeys (runs the predictive algorithms), and gives back the scores, explanation, coaching tips, locations of the events, the context of the trip, etc.

Data visualisation

Data Visualization

Once all insights are ready, the smart telematics solutions integrate the scoring in the corporate fleet management system, presenting the analysis outcomes.

Data traverses a full path from the GPS satellite providing the vehicle’s position, through the car, to the end-user web or mobile app. Fleet managers can also request a custom mobility analytics solution and enhance the standard outputs with residual value estimations, predictive maintenance capabilities, EV charging optimization, and other on-demand functions to make the most of their telematics data.

Vehicle telematics devices

Traditionally, telematics referred to black-box devices connecting to OBD-II or CAN-BUS port. Gradually, some alternatives emerged. The way those different devices hook up, collect, and transmit information varies between the types.

12V telematics plug-in

This smart sensor device plugs into the auxiliary power outlet, or the 12V car cigarette lighter socket, as it is better known. The device is cheap, easy to install, and can be retrofitted into almost any vehicle. Plug-in hardware is quite efficient at driver behavior tracking and crash detection, but lacks more sophisticated options compared to other solutions. Simple and affordable, 12V plug-ins aren’t a bad place to start for someone unfamiliar with telematics. However, their capabilities are limited.

FMP 100

Example Device: TELTONIKA FMP100 Plug and Play tracker

Source: https://teltonika-gps.com/product/fmp100/

OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) dongle

One advantage of dongles is that you can usually use them alongside your standard built-in systems, and they will work seamlessly. OBD is light, portable, and relatively easy to install, plugging into the OBD II port with an adapter. Dongles can track work and journey time records, trace the vehicle, monitor fuel usage, and read basic driver behavior (measuring the speed, idling, hard braking, and acceleration).

Fmc001 1.1840fdbacedf8157a1c1e272106b64e4436187b445dbfdf5790ef52a8d8bc650 300x300

Example Device: TELTONIKA FMC001 Tracker OBD plug and play LTE / GNSS / BLE

Source: https://teltonika-gps.com/fr/product/fmc001/

Blackbox

A blackbox is a tiny smart device that uses a SIM card and a modem to collect and send out information on driver behavior over a cellular network. Vehicle identification, mileage, and trip data it provides are uncontested because the box is installed inside the vehicle. However, hardwiring also has its downsides. Namely, blackboxes require installation and servicing by trained professionals, leading to added downtime and possibly higher costs.

Teltonika FMB120

Example Device: TELTONIKA FMB120 GNSS/GSM/Bluetooth tracker with internal GNSS/GSM antennas and internal battery

Source: https://teltonika-gps.com/product/fmb120/

OEM device (Original Equipment Manufacturers)

OEMs are a current trend in telematics, and according to the “Global Automotive OEM Telematics Market” report, they will be embedded in 84% of all vehicles, starting from 2024. They are factory-installed in the car and in most cases, they offer telematics data via connected car platforms. While in principle, this could mean that OEMs are ready to work from mile one, in fact, the OEM connected car platforms aren’t built to support any use cases. They are rarely customizable, cannot be replaced easily, and are specific for particular car makes and models. Therefore, to support a specific scenario, OEM telematics solutions require a purpose-built app that can plug and play into car data. These features make them cumbersome to manage in large, mixed fleets.

Smartphone-based telematics devices

Today, when nearly 84% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, mobile-based devices have become a standard in fleet analytics. Mobile-first telematics devices don’t require upfront installation, and they provide a convenient and inexpensive medium for fleet tracking via a driver mobile app. In addition, they receive data via Bluetooth from in-car sensors and can be easily tailored for individual needs.

Smartphone-based Telematics

Dashcams

Fleet dash cameras can complement a GPS tracker, providing visual evidence to validate the collected data. Augmenting the GPS fleet tracking technology with connected dash cameras enables additional detection of driver behavior, such as distractions, sleepiness, phone usage, thanks to video footage. Also, video telematics allows fleet managers to detect the dangerous habit of tailgating.

TELTONIKA DUALCAM

Example Device: TELTONIKA DUALCAM FMC125 and a camera solution for in-cabin and road video monitoring 

Source: https://teltonika-gps.com/fr/product/dualcam/

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Chapter Five

Fleet telematics software

Hardware is just one piece of the telematics puzzle. But to get insights to optimize their work, fleet managers also need software to collect, store, and analyze data and present them in an easily digestible, user-friendly manner.

 

Telematics software connects to the sensors and devices that retrieve data generated by the vehicle, runs analyzes, and displays the outcomes to the end-user as reports and dashboards. Data analyzes can be customized to meet the manager’s specific requirements. For example, a dashboard can show all vehicles of a given make, class, year, or selected geography and their maintenance status. Or a report may include the top 20 drivers with the least incidents and most eco-friendly driving style, etc.

Depending on the level of sophistication, we can distinguish three main types of vehicle telematics applications:

Telematics service providers (TSPs) solutions

TSPs specialize in selling hardware (trackers). Still, their devices sometimes come with a rudimentary vehicle telematics solution platform that uses GPS data to show the real-time position of the vehicle or monitor routes. These insights, though valuable, are limited and do not allow managers to simplify or reduce all processes they are involved with.

Fleet management software

On the other hand, Fleet management solutions can handle all-things fleet management when connected to a telematics device. They allow managers to coordinate driver schedules, issue and read reports, track and trace vehicles and trips, apply geofencing, analyze driver behavior, oversee maintenance, and even manage the financials. While powerful, fleet management platforms usually do not perform well in driver behavior analytics and mobility data science.

Advanced analytics software

With advanced data science capabilities, data analytics solutions can complement TSPs platforms and fleet management solutions. Applying AI algorithms, they augment standard telematics solutions with insights related to safe driving, fleet eco-efficiency, vehicle wear, fleet composition suggestions, electromobility, and predictive maintenance. 

By including another layer of sophistication to fleet insights, data-driven mobility solutions for fleets help managers improve critical scores, generate substantial cost savings, and strengthen strategic decision-making. These benefits and more give operators a competitive edge and make embracing new fleet trends and technologies easier.  

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TSP platforms perform the base roles of vehicle tracking and tracing. On the other end are fleet analytics solutions that offer meaningful insights into driver behavior, helping managers avoid and reduce risks before they arise.

Chapter Six

Benefits of fleet telematics

Originally, telematics solutions concentrated mainly on providing vehicle location and optimizing routing. The more advanced they became, the more insights they would offer, essential to optimizing vehicle maintenance and asset lifecycle management. With the advent of AI and data solutions and the mass adoption of IoT devices across industries, the technology’s focus shifted greatly towards drivers. 

How to ensure driver safety in inclement weather conditions? Can drivers help improve fuel economy and reduce emissions? How to connect driver behavior to adjust and lower insurance premiums? Today’s fleet telematics systems help managers address these and similar questions, leading to operational and cost improvements in key areas.

Greater fuel efficiency

Fuel is generally one of the biggest expenses for a fleet, so every little bit saved in this department goes a long way. Especially as 63% of fleet managers quote increasing costs as their biggest challenge. In conjunction with IoT sensors, telematics solutions are an effective tool to increase fuel savings. 

On the basic level, they provide inputs to fleet managers for optimizing routes and planning proactive schedules, both of which prevent excess idling and make fleets use less fuel. Additionally, tracking and analyzing driver behavior identifies individual driving patterns that lead to high fuel consumption (like idling, sharp braking, aggressive driving, etc.). Knowing them, fleet managers can train individual drivers in fuel-efficient techniques.

Proactive maintenance

Fleet maintenance costs increase exponentially with each vehicle in service each year. However, predicting problems before they arrive or aggravate can slow down this growth. According to market estimates, predictive telematics software can bring 5-10% savings on fleet maintenance, lessening the likelihood of a car breaking down and reducing potential downtimes. Moreover, by using driver insights, managers can foresee and minimize the impact of their driving dynamics on the tear of vehicle components and delayed servicing.

Less downtime and minimized wear and tear-free up even more money to improve other facets of the fleet. Having an ever-improving cycle of money saved, then reinvested, releases efficiencies that some managers never thought possible.

Maximizing vehicle residual value

Fleet managers sometimes see the residual value (the price at which a vehicle sells after its primary uses) as a hidden income. A higher residual value will help lower the total cost of ownership in a car. Vehicle telematics solutions can help increase it in several ways. Route optimization to keep usage lower is one benefit. Predictive maintenance can also help keep the vehicle in prime running condition, and if a car is well taken care of, it is worth more. Also, if a company has a reputation for well-maintained vehicles, it can benefit from selling.

Benefits quantified

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Accidents explained based on our patented approach

By matching objective road accidents’ statistics with severity and frequency.

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Fuel consumption reduced by optimizing driving style

Coaching fleet members in smooth driving can significantly lower your fuel consumption.

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Cost savings from fuel and maintenance by changing to EV

Based on the current market price of fuel (€1.2/l), average consumption 6l/100 km, versus 17 kW/100 km at an energy price of €0.2/kWh.

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Influence on the vehicle’s wear and tear

Reducing component wear and tear by simply avoiding bad driving behavior can reduce maintenance costs and unexpected breakdowns.

Optimized fleet composition

Data-driven fleet optimization software analyzes the fleet’s mobility patterns, typical routes, duration of trips and stops, individual driving style, and availability of charging infrastructure, among other metrics. Using an intelligent fleet optimization solution, managers unlock well-informed decisions about their fleet’s composition and potential upgrading to develop a reliable – and profitable – fleet makeup profile. Thus, they can integrate sustainable vehicles into their fleet without bearing the risk of such a decision, which is an essential business advantage. By 2050, electric cars are likely to make up one-third of the global fleet.

Increased safety

The applications of telematics increasingly turn to the driver and driver’s safety. By helping to identify risky driving behaviors, fleet optimization software reduces the incident frequency, lowers insurance claims, and minimizes car damages and driver injuries in the case of an accident. Thus, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that many fleet owners and managers consider telematics a vital solution in their companies. Using driver insights, they can plan and efficiently conduct coaching to show drivers how to drive less aggressively, adding to everyone’s safety.

Higher service quality

Today’s businesses and consumers expect faster deliveries and more assistance, on the one hand, and affordable services, on the other. Therefore, meeting the rapidly evolving customer demands is among the key challenges for nearly half of fleets. Fleet optimizing software can improve that area positively, translating to higher ROI and greater customer loyalty. How? 

Designing more efficient routes that shorten delivery times is a good start, but the potential of vehicle data analytics goes further. For example, telematics software integrated with fleet management systems can send information necessary to streamline customer communications, dispatching automated alerts to customers about their delivery status. In addition, improving drivers’ skills thanks to personalized coaching based on data makes fleet services more reliable and predictable for customers. This also positively impacts the overall quality.

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Chapter Seven

Vehicle telematics use cases

Even though reports and analyses directly demonstrate the manifold benefits of modern fleet management and telematics solutions, nothing can compare to real-life use cases. So to illustrate how modern data-driven systems can make your fleets more efficient and cost-effective, we’re sharing three stories by our customers who turned fleet telematics insights into real business value.

VUE Group: Reducing Accidents with Real-Time Driver insights

The UK VUE Group offers a complete fleet management solution that increases fleet efficiency, reduces risk, and lowers claims costs. The company is a dedicated Video Telematics provider delivering solutions to fleets across Europe. 

Since its foundation in 1999, VUE Group has earned an excellent reputation and trust in the fleet operator and the insurance sector. It sees accurate scoring as essential to maintain customers’ trust and help fleets understand how to solve their problems. 

VUE Group took advantage of fleet optimization techniques beyond a simple ABC driving behavior analysis. The goal was to tackle the following challenges that fleet operators often face:

  1. Reduce the number of fleet accidents. 
  2. Qualify for competitive insurance premiums.
  3. Quickly settle claims in case of an incident.

Seamless integration of risk scoring with company dashboards

VUE Group has integrated our risk scoring solution into its feature-rich visualization dashboards via API to address the above concerns. Timestamped, anonymized localization data from fleet drivers is sent to the augmentation and profiling platform. As a result, the contextual information from different fleet trips sections is available via a user-friendly dashboard within seconds. Moreover, getting risk assessment profiles on a per-trip basis allows the company managers to carefully assess driving behavior with proven contributory factors for road accidents.

FEBIAC: Gauging the electric car profitability

Electric vehicles have had a rather poor reputation regarding their range until recently. Moreover, the low availability of charging stations was a critical limitation for early adopters of EVs. And the worst thing about these two facts is that they stick until today in the consumers’ heads.

Tackling these hurtful stereotypes is FEBIAC, the Belgian and Luxembourgish Automotive Federation. As a representative of car manufacturers and importers, the organization strives to promote eco-efficient mobility. To that end, it undertakes to ensure the public that range anxiety is a thing of the past, as vehicles and batteries have greatly evolved since these concerns originally appeared.

Accurate assessment of the EV transition potential

Recently, many car manufacturers have launched new EV models – nevertheless, sales of electric vehicles are only taking up by inchmeal. Therefore, to encourage fleet owners and car buyers to consider purchasing an electric car, FEBIAC stakeholders contacted us to launch a mobile app that assesses the profitability of using EVs.

In conjunction with AskLee, a mobile companion, we have developed a solution to enable that. We based it on our AI platform that integrates our mobile Android and iOS trip detection software (SDKs) in the mobile app – meanwhile, the platform calculates accurate eco profiles. 

Within a few months, the app collected more than 150 thousand trips covering over 2.5 million km, providing actionable insights into electromobility and its impact on the end customer’s fleets. 

Vias Institute: Improving safety with dashcam coaching

Established in 1986 by the Belgian government and now independent, The Vias Institute is the driving force behind the ‘BOB’ drinking-and-driving awareness campaigns. The organization offers awareness-raising training in road safety. The courses dedicated to road offenders, driver education, and driver assessments come with custom modules depending on the offense committed or behaviors to coach. All initiatives launched by the institute aim to make offenders aware of the risks on the road, appeal to their responsibility for other traffic participants and develop toward safer driving.

Road offenders and other drivers can be coached in specific situations. But how can traditional coaching be improved and tailored to individual driving styles? 

Custom risk profiling for safer driving

Getting insights into driving behavior with GPS, motion sensors, and dashcam data can give coaches much richer content for their training activities. In addition, more targeted, engaging training content impacts drivers, who can link their behavior habits to real and quantified exposure to accidents.

To provide a solution that would enable realizing this vision of personalized driver coaching, we have provided the Vias Institute with five AI-empowered dashcams, fully integrated into the training cars. They collect various trip data (GPS readings, data from IoT sensors, and video-based events) and send it to our intelligent data analytics platform.

The analyses leverage custom risk profiling, which considers 23 risk factors, including distraction in-vehicle and tailgating. Using it enables not only to understand the driver behavior in general but also to examine it in varied driving contexts, like inclement weather, heavy traffic, slippery road, etc. Empowered with these data insights, the Vias Institute coaches can test and explore new safe-driving coaching and road safety applications.

Grupo A: Optimizing parts procurement & reducing downtimes

Grupo A is a multicultural group providing services across four business units: auto parts, machinery, real estate, and mining. The company was established in 1934 and is mainly active in the Andean region, Mexico, and the USA. 

The deep focus on innovation and human development to guarantee the sustainability of excellence in its products and services has led it to become one of the top vehicle parts providers in Latin America. To serve its customers even better and enable them to predict vehicle wear and reduce downtime, Grupo A teamed up with Motion-S.

AI-enabled predictions that reduce unplanned downtime 

The traditional approach to fleet maintenance, based on the mileage, is highly inefficient and often results in unnecessary downtime. Therefore, many companies leverage IoT-based predictive maintenance systems to achieve greater accuracy in evaluating the current condition of parts and vehicle equipment. But as a market leader, Grupo A went a step further, implementing our solution that also factors in the driving style and the trip context to come up with the most accurate predictions of the car wear.

The average downtime costs of vehicles in small to medium-sized fleets in Europe is 6800 € per vehicle/per year.

By collecting and analyzing data from vehicles’ GPS telemetry trackers, the CAN bus, and maintenance records, our fleet optimization and analytics solution offers reliable, complete insights about the vehicle parts’ lifetime. “The collaboration with Motion-S on predicting car wear has influenced multiple actors in our value chain: from customers to account managers, procurement, to engineers, thus significantly improving our visibility on vehicle wear,” one of the executives in Grupo A summarized our cooperation. 

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Chapter Eight

Future technology for fleet management – a 2030 vision

In 2021, there were 237 million connected cars in operation globally. By 2025, they are expected to reach 400 million. Even more telling, technology experts predict that in 2030, in less than a decade, 96% of vehicles shipped worldwide will have built-in connectivity. As a result, in 2030, the expected connected car market may reach $345.1 billion, registering a CAGR of 17.1%.

What is a connected vehicle?

A connected vehicle is equipped with Internet access, often including a wireless local area network, to share data with devices inside and outside the car. Built-in IoT sensors collect data to be stored and processed locally.

Gathered data then travels to the OEM platform which may make this data available in a secured manner to third parties for the provision of specific fleet services. Modern connected vehicles can also use networking capabilities to exchange data with other cars and entities like traffic lights or intelligent road signs (V2X or ‘vehicle to everything’ connectivity). By a popular estimate, connected vehicles can generate up to 25 gigabytes of data per hour, creating a constant stream of data that requires due protection.

The drive towards connected fleets has already started. There’s no stopping it, as the combination of data and connectivity offers ways to tackle a whole new range of challenges for fleets in recent years. From spiking fuel prices, through increasing congestion, to exorbitant insurance costs, connected mobility can help fleet operators deal with these issues and mitigate their impact on their company’s profitability. In addition, linking the company’s back-office and drivers allows fleet companies to see their operations as a whole rather than a sum of independent parts. 

Such a holistic perspective offers benefits beyond operational efficiencies or improved decision-making. It unlocks driver safety and accountability improvements, vehicle maintenance and longevity, and sustainability and compliance. On top of that, optimizing processes with connected data solutions means cutting down on unnecessary costs and identifying more opportunities for savings. All of which translates into higher profit.

Challenges exist, but data can resolve them

Despite these advantages, many fleet operators still have qualms about dipping their toes in the connectivity water. The major issues revolve around data gathering, processing, and protection. The amount of data produced by all connected cars is overwhelming traditional data processing solutions. 

As OEMs strive to make connected vehicles more autonomous, the cars themselves must use many sensors, and platforms must process the flood of data they produce. That means that automotive connected data platforms should optimize information from the stage of generation to the stage of storage and monetization of non-critical insights.

Therefore, solutions for sensor fusion and data compression, edge computing combined with 5G, and AI will be the focal points of automotive research. Blockchain is another field of interest, as it has the potential to ensure better data safety. Because today’s vehicles — smart, connected, autonomous, providing a delightful user experience and safer driving — are simultaneously vulnerable to cyberattacks and data theft. And every connected car platform that serves a network of millions of vehicles has to bring together the capabilities of OEMs, hardware providers, and software providers. One company can’t ensure all aspects of advanced connected driving, and partnerships and task delegation are critical.

Connected fleets: enablers for the future

While the pure concept of a connected vehicle is simple – gathering data from sensors and transmitting it to be processed by various pieces of software, the elements enabling that connection are much more complex. 

Let’s review key developments driving the connected car evolution now and beyond (we’ll skip IoT as self-evident).

5G

As mentioned before, connected cars operate on massive amounts of free-flowing data. This fact imposes rigorous requirements not only on the processing software, but also on connectivity. With its large bandwidth and ultra-low latency, 5G is changing the connected car experience and is considered a chief enabler of level 5 autonomous cars. We aren’t there yet with these true self-drive vehicles, but getting closer, as 79 countries have already commercialized 5G networks or are conducting trials.

Over-the-air updates (FOTA / SOTA)

Over-the-air technology refers to software updates that contain new configurations, services, and settings required to keep all the connected sensors and apps up and running securely. All updates take place remotely, and they are often automated. The updates may serve to upgrade, fix, and improve firmware versions (firmware-over-the-air, FOTA) or send, download, and install files like software updates, patches, and new functions to connected devices (software-over-the-air, SOTA).

In-vehicle telematics

Telematics, understood as using GPS data to record sensor data and enable insights into driver behavior and vehicle status, is nothing new. However, modern solutions augment traditionally gathered data with contextual information such as road topology and environment, weather information, points of interest, weather conditions, signage, etc., to extract all possible insights from each trip. Such advanced fleet analytics is essential for enabling proactive repairs, tracking driver compliance with the fleet operating standards, improving eco-efficiency, and efficiently coaching drivers in safe driving. 

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X)

The connected car technology enables multi-directional connectivity between a vehicle and another car (V2V, vehicle-to-vehicle), the infrastructure (V2I), and the cloud systems (V2C). A vehicle equipped with these systems can exchange information with different infrastructure components, entertainment systems, fleet management platforms, external apps, and ADAS systems. Data circulating between these elements can power vehicle diagnostics, driver assessment and training, and even for marketing the fleet’s benefits to customers.

Predictive capabilities

The ability to collect, transmit, and analyze vast sets of car data is no longer an advantage. Any fleet with no data solution implemented has probably already gone out of business. But predicting possible outcomes based on big data adds another layer of insights and efficiency to fleet operations, which might constitute a competitive edge. 

By applying data mining, statistical modeling, and other machine learning technologies, a fleet optimization platform becomes essential for managers to precisely assess and mitigate risks. For example, applying correct AI algorithms can improve maintenance standards and extend a vehicle’s life. Moreover, predictive analytic insights help detect potential failures that could lead to breakdowns and lower fuel and energy efficiency if ignored or noticed later. Data-based predictions are also invaluable for optimizing driver scores and developing training cues for individual drivers to improve their behavior and reduce the number of tickets, incidents, delays, and claims.

Connected Vehicle 2020-2030 Fleet By Region

Connected Fleets per Region

Source: statista.com

Get more on

How to tap into the potential for monetizing car data?
Find out in this detailed analysis by McKinsey.
Learn more about tackling the challenges of in-vehicle data.
Deloitte’s analysis to capitalize on the opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Living the future of fleet management ​

The fleet industry is ever-changing, and to remain relevant, fleet managers need to have their finger on the pulse of technology. As the customer demand for flexibility and speed intensifies, modern fleets increasingly tap on data to deliver on that requirement. 

Implementing fleet management and optimization analytics helps fleet managers streamline and simplify operations and stay on top of all relevant insights. That is a tremendous opportunity for fleets to evolve into data-driven, agile, and efficient businesses. The first companies to grasp it can reap the benefits of the first-mover advantage for a long time to come. 

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