The most important prerequisite to connectivity is 5G, and then vehicle-embedded technology to support V2X. What follows is a big leap forward in safety and efficiency enabled by V2V (vehicle to...

The most important prerequisite to connectivity is 5G, and then vehicle-embedded technology to support V2X. What follows is a big leap forward in safety and efficiency enabled by V2V (vehicle to vehicle), V2P (vehicle to pedestrian), V2I (vehicle to infrastructure), and V2N (vehicle to network) communication.

Image: Canva/Automotive Fleet

Automotive Fleet recently reached out to fleet management companies to contextualize the biggest trends for fleets for 2024 and beyond. The responses were included in this article, which focused primarily on vehicle supply, segment trends, and supply chain issues.

We also asked for perspective on technology integration, specifically on how the fleet industry harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) and the factors driving connected vehicle technology.

We included responses on AI in this article. In this second one, we’ll focus on connected vehicles. First question:

What’s the new frontier in connectivity?

Avninder Buttar, senior vice president and head of electrification for Element Fleet Management:

“Connected vehicles are a critical component of modern fleet management. Between device-based telematics and telematics directly from the vehicle (through the OEM), the data coming from the vehicle is invaluable in supporting maintenance, driver safety, and determining the potential for electrification, including monitoring and managing charging and battery health.”

Steven Jastrow, vice president – strategic advisory & client analytics for Element Fleet Management:

“5G connectivity will offer significantly faster and more reliable connectivity, enabling real-time data transmission between vehicles and fleet management systems. This high-speed connectivity enhances communication for applications like telematics, remote monitoring, and over-the-air updates.

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication enables vehicles to communicate with other vehicles, infrastructure, pedestrians, and the overall transportation ecosystem. This technology enhances safety, traffic efficiency, and situational awareness. In fleet management, V2X communication can optimize routing, prevent accidents, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Telematics systems are evolving with more advanced features. Beyond basic GPS tracking, modern telematics leverage advanced sensors, cameras, and connectivity to provide detailed insights into vehicle health, driver behavior, and environmental conditions. This comprehensive data enables proactive decision-making.

As more things are connected, AI is playing a crucial role in interpreting and analyzing the vast amount of data generated by connected cars. Machine learning algorithms can provide actionable insights and optimize routes based on historical data and real-time conditions.

Remote vehicle management will allow fleet managers to remotely monitor and manage vehicles. Including features like remote diagnostics, software updates, and even remote control of certain vehicle functions.”

Roan Oropesa, strategic business development director at Enterprise Fleet Management:

“In light of challenges faced by fleet operators to maximize efficiencies while minimizing costs, telematics solutions have emerged as an indispensable tool.

Despite being available for some time now, there is still a significant proportion of fleets that have yet to unlock the full capabilities of these solutions or haven’t yet invested in them, due to a lack of perceived value. Fortunately, with the emergence of the connected car, fleet operators are being presented with new avenues for data collection and analysis that can deliver considerable ROI.

With the ability to capture new and relevant data points, these solutions help fleet operators achieve much greater levels of efficiency and visibility.

At Enterprise Fleet Management, we are seeing a shift in clients’ expectations for these tools with more now requiring telematics as a key criterion when selecting vehicles for their fleets.”

Ben McIntyre, VP of enterprise solutions and architecture at Merchants Fleet:

“The real frontier for connected vehicles would be the widespread implementation of reliable V2X. This would bring the IoT of smart cities and roads together with the smart vehicle to share real-time information and drastically improve driver and pedestrian safety. 

These capabilities would likely have a significant impact on driver efficiency and experience, helping to make real-time adjustments to routes, optimizing fueling, or even allowing drivers to create personalized scenarios for better decision-making. 

The creation of V2X standards and regulatory alignment will be important for the long-term success and adoption of these technologies.”

Brian Bathe, chief technology officer at Mike Albert Fleet Solutions:

“The most important prerequisite to connectivity is 5G, and then vehicle-embedded technology to support V2X. What follows is a big leap forward in safety and efficiency enabled by V2V (vehicle to vehicle), V2P (vehicle to pedestrian), V2I (vehicle to infrastructure), and V2N (vehicle to network) communication.

Changes in conditions due to accidents, overloaded collector roads, and heavy pedestrian traffic can be dealt with by our signaling infrastructure and incorporated into our vehicle's guidance without any assistance. Our infrastructure can be more effectively leveraged, our pedestrians safer, and our drivers can arrive at their destination efficiently.”

What steps can fleets take to seamlessly maximize the data?

Oropesa, EFM:

“Data is helpful if it can be used to reinforce change or motivate action. If not, it can easily become overwhelming. A key to this is having the right partner or platform that translates data into actionable insights that assist fleet operators make day-to-day decisions for a fleet while increasing vehicle performance (uptime).

A few examples include the ability to identify inefficiencies in vehicles, gain visibility into oil life, battery health, and fuel economy, and provide sustainability metrics.”

McIntyre, Merchants:

“Near-term improvements in vehicle connectivity involved Vehicle-to-Cloud (V2C) powered by wireless technology such as 5G. The improvements in near-real-time communication will allow centralized fleet operations to monitor their fleets and alert fleet safety operators to immediate safety concerns. 

Data collected can then be used to build AI-driven systems that can be combined with external data such as traffic data, routing systems, and even weather information to create more accurate insights and predictions for maintenance and overall Fleet Health. AI-enabled interfaces will empower Fleet managers to get faster insights using natural language prompts (asking regular questions) vs sifting through reports and dashboards.”

Bathe, Mike Albert:

“Preparing for this technology involves a combination of understanding the technology itself, staying updated on industry developments, and potentially adjusting your infrastructure or vehicles. The timeframe for adoption in Europe and the U.S. is catching up to China, due to spectrum allocation changes. 

Familiarize yourself with similar technologies that are available now but will vastly improve once V2X is adopted: vehicle routing applications that include dynamic route optimization based on crowd-sourced data, vehicles with collision avoidance sourced from on-vehicle sensors, etc. 

With all this information sharing, we must ensure that driver privacy is respected and protected from unauthorized access and misuse; we must update data governance strategies and increase the education of drivers and staff on data privacy and appropriate use.”


About the author
Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Associate Publisher

As associate publisher of Automotive Fleet, Auto Rental News, and Fleet Forward, Chris Brown covers all aspects of fleets, transportation, and mobility.

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