Joined up thinking a must for connected fleets

Exploring the role of telematics integration in fleets, investigated by Graham Jarvis [Tele.Jarvis.2016.08.02]

Traditional fleet management systems that monitor driver behaviour, maintenance and fuel economy are increasingly being integrated with new Internet of Things (IoT) functionalities and infrastructure such as with the smart city or the smart road. Automated tolls, traffic light management systems, truck weigh stations and road user charging systems are being increasingly used to make fleet management as well as fuel and traffic management as efficient as possible.

“Telematics integration with weigh station bypass is being used by quite a few companies and it enables trucks to avoid having to stop at weigh stations,” explains Clem Driscoll, president of C.J. Driscoll & Associates. He adds: “There are road usage tax trails in Oregon and some other states and several GPS fleet management suppliers are involved, such as New Zealand-based EROAD, and California-based Azuga.”

He says the main focus is on accurately measuring in-state mileage charges. These could be used by government agencies to replace fuel taxes. Meanwhile, he claims that traffic light pre-emption has been around for quite a while. “It’s used by public transport and public safety agencies and it’s an example of integration with telematics and the environment around it,” he explains. These areonly just some of the example of how telematics integration is moving forward.

Driscoll says that if opportunities are to be realised transport management systems providers need to work more closely together than they traditional have done in the past. Some are already collaborating with each other. “In the case of weigh station bypass, the solution providers, like DriveWyze, are working with GPS fleet management suppliers in the trucking sector,” he reveals. Harold Leitner, vice-president business development at GPS Insight, thinks that there are a couple of different angles to telematics integration. The first is about position, velocity and time data. This, he explains, is being used by third party traffic monitoring companies who aggregate the data from telematics companies and from cell phone networks. It enables them to know how fast and where their vehicles are moving. “Telematics based driver behaviour data is also being aggregated by commercial driver information services. These services aggregate telematics, toll violation, speed camera violation, red light violation and accident data”, he says. Insurance companies, for example, can use this to generate a driver safety score for their customers.

Electric and hybrid
Fleets with electric and hybrid vehicles have special challenges because “they want to more easily dispatch vehicles to charging stations once they have reached a certain battery threshold”. These fleets use location data to assess when they will arrive at a charging station, how long each vehicle spends at a charging or re-fuelling station, and the technology can log when a vehicle leaves to go on their way to their destination. With one partner supplier called Lytx, Lee Barnes, director of Connected & Autonomous Vehicle Business at Ricardo, says his company is engaged in a truck platooning project with Texas DOT by providing an in-vehicle driver monitoring system. “So if the driver gets in and accident, slams on the brake, or crosses lanes without signalling this system captures data 20 seconds before and after an incident, the system can track the driver’s behaviour,” he explains before adding that this capability is being leveraged now and there are other systems similar, that have been in existence, that capture and transmit critical information. “One of the key enablers for platooning is V2V communication, and once this technology is pushed by the government, fleet management systems will have the foundation to expand great features, like driver health monitoring, platooning back office support, advanced route mapping, traffic management etc.,” he says.

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