Fleet Trends To Watch Out For In the Coming Year

The events of 2020 set in motion an avalanche of changes in markets, the effects of which will be felt for years to come

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The pandemic caused a great many disruptions the world over. As large parts of the workforce went into lockdown, fleets stepped up to ensure a steady supply of essentials including food and medicine. This period also saw a shift in consumer behaviour, the existing astronomical pressure on demand from e-commerce was further exacerbated by the urgency the pandemic forced on deliveries. The ensuing upheaval shone a bright light on the value of well-functioning supply chains pushing leaders to validate their strategies against the real-world challenges brought on by COVID. That coupled with a renewed focus on climate change and sustainability has digitised the supply chain at an unprecedented rate. We have perhaps experienced more transformation in logistics in the last two years than over the last decade.

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Now with the 4th Industrial revolution already here, digitization, AI, IoT and automation are not merely buzz words but indispensable to the sustainability and growth of the logistics sector. In a recent study by Tech Mahindra that sought to understand the level of awareness of automotive telematics technologies in India, 90 per cent of respondents preferred buying a vehicle with telematics capabilities and 45 per cent of respondents deemed it necessary to use telematics for safety and security.

What does this mean for fleet tech going forward?

The events of 2020 set in motion an avalanche of changes in markets, the effects of which will be felt for years to come. In such a situation, the ability to quickly adapt becomes a priority and thus fleet tech will evolve in ways that keep operations agile and businesses resilient.

Beyond safety score cards with video telematics

The way fleets use video has evolved radically. Earlier the use of video by fleets was limited to merely capturing driving performance like speeding or braking, without the option of a live feed. At most this footage could be reviewed later and used for driver safety scorecards and coaching.

Video telematics, however, integrates cameras and analytics with fleet tracking adding another layer of intelligence to multiple aspects of fleet operations enabling enhanced driver safety, lower operational costs, and an increase in fuel efficiency and productivity.

Sensors with enhanced capabilities

The capabilities of sensors have increased tremendously through IoT beyond not just helping companies manage their vehicles but also giving fleets the ability to monitor goods being transported across product cycles.

Sensors can be used for nearly anything from cargo temperature, humidity, pressure, location and speed. One such critical and pertinent use of sensors is tracking the temperature of vaccines and other temperature-sensitive medicines as they travel across supply chains around the globe.

Better connectivity

Improvements in 4G connectivity and eventually the availability of 5G coupled with IoT hardware and computing power will unlock new opportunities in vehicle connectivity and monitoring. Allowing for uninterrupted performance for vehicle camera systems, 5G-empowered cameras can ensure faster data transmission, better monitoring, improved operational control, and reduced costs. Additionally with continuous round-the-clock connectivity telematics will revolutionize driver and pedestrian safety.

Data is king!

The importance of data cannot be overstated as fleet technologies become increasingly reliant on AI. AI algorithms are only as good as the data they’re fed. Producing algorithms that save lives and increase operational efficiency requires comprehensive datasets that contain as many permutations and combinations of situations that drivers may encounter on the road as possible -across vehicle types, traffic scenarios, weather, population densities, and road conditions. This married with cloud solutions to process this massive amount of data will make telematics solutions more dependable.

Spotlight on environmental impact

What will come into greater focus is the role fleet tech can play in reducing the impact of supply chains on the environment. Today Eight global supply chains account for more than 50% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Only a small proportion of these emissions are produced during final manufacturing. Most are embedded in the supply chain with a considerable proportion in the freight transport needed to move goods around the world. Fleet tech helps reduce a fleet’s carbon footprint as it enables more efficient driving behaviour and reduced idling. Route optimization reduces unnecessary miles and avoids congested areas, decreasing Co2 emissions by 75 per cent or around 36 million metric tons per year. Telematics allows for proactive vehicle maintenance further reducing fuel waste and unnecessary carbon emissions. IoT, along with data analytics and cloud, can also reduce accidents/injuries by 25 per cent, which will increase the vehicle's efficiency by 15 per cent. Moreover, the reduction in accidents also reduces the materials wasted on the road due to accidents by 15 per cent, hence decreasing the cost of managing the logistics.

Telematics and GPS systems supporting fleets will continue to evolve in the coming year. The massive amounts of data being sourced internally and externally highlight the imminence of solutions that focus on data security in telematics and GPS systems.

Technology does not evolve for its own sake, any innovation is borne out of the need to solve problems. By the same token technologies that push the envelope for the capacity of fleet tech will continue to thrive.