iTracking Blog

The Road Ahead: The Fleet Trends of 2018

Posted in: Fleet Management Systems
Date posted: 21 December 2017

The fleet industry is on the cusp of several big technological advancements that are set to shake up the industry over the next few years.

With 2017 drawing to a close, the successes and failures that marked the year are not the only facets you should consider when planning for the future of your fleet.

By analysing the upcoming fleet trends for the next year, you’ll be able to better anticipate the opportunities and challenges that can help you position your business better in 2018.

1. Autonomous Vehicles

By 2020, 10 million autonomous vehicles are predicted to be on our roads, with big companies like Mercedes, BMW, Tesla, and Google at the forefront of this technology.

While it’s not yet a common sight, the Autonomous Age is definitely coming. And the fleet industry is looking likely to be one of its early adopters. Driverless vehicles offer plenty of benefits for fleet-based businesses, including; reduced costs, more time for employees to focus on other tasks, and eliminating the potential resource loss caused by human error.

In fact, the audit and tax advisory service KPMG said self-driving cars would result in fewer deaths in the UK between 2014 and 2030.

With the arrival of autonomous vehicles also comes the rise of connected cars, whether that is vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure. Semi-autonomous systems already available to the public, such as forward-collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control, have already made an indelible mark on the fleet industry.

In the UK, the market share of connected cars is predicted to reach 100% penetration by 2026. Fleet companies would benefit from engaging early with autonomous vehicles, as it would give them access to a network of “always on” vehicles.

Whilst connected cars will inevitably improve the efficiency and safety of fleet drivers and cargo, on the flip side of the coin, developing these vehicles bring to fore issues of liability, legality, and insurance. On top of that, autonomous vehicles, even at their current advanced stage, would still need human intervention.

While 2018 may not be the year that commercial fleets shift completely to driverless cars, a number of companies will start dabbling in the technology, especially with the widespread implementation of the Internet of Things. With more organisations following suit, autonomous vehicles will then start gaining unstoppable momentum in the fleet industry.

Fleet Trends 2018 - Autonomous Vehicles

2. Telematics and Data Analytics

Technology will play a huge role in changing the fleet management landscape in 2018 and beyond. Expect telematics to be even more ubiquitous in the industry than before, as more and more businesses take advantage of the benefits they bring; lower costs, enhanced driver productivity, and improved fleet safety.

With an increasing number of user-friendly features added to telematics systems every year, in 2018 you will be able to formulate logistical reforms based on reliable data, including:

  • Cost cutting – You can lower fuel expenses by planning the most efficient route, decrease maintenance costs by making sure vehicles are taken care of, receive fewer insurance claims by monitoring driver behaviour, and use fewer vehicles by improving route efficiency.
  • Accurate risk assessment – Experts are refining predictive analytics solutions that will allow you to tell, in advance, if a vehicle is going to have a mechanical breakdown. This feature also collects real-time information on driver performance, allowing you to monitor and keep them on a safe route.
  • Maintaining a fleet’s optimal performance – Telematics systems come with utilisation analysis, a feature that will give you a comprehensive overview of the current state of your fleet. With it, you will know how each vehicle performs, how many vehicles you need to accommodate your customers, how many vehicles you would need in the coming years, and when you need to replace one.

While collecting data is advantageous, the onslaught of information can prove to be overwhelming to those who do not know how to properly harness the information. You can click here to read our guide on avoiding data overload when using fleet telematics.

3. Mobility As A Service

In the past years, we saw the public embrace ride-hailing and car-sharing apps. Mobility as a Service (MaaS)—the process of integrating transportation services in a single, on-demand platform—can also be applied to the fleet industry.

MaaS gives fleet companies a couple of opportunities:

  • Manage fleets of vehicles for a network of companies, in the same geographic location, who want to use their own cars as MaaS; or
  • Be a MaaS provider yourself, wherein you get to transport other company drivers from point A to point B efficiently

This is, of course, a huge undertaking and would require a solid expansion plan to get businesses across industries to work together. MaaS technology also still needs further development to accommodate this feature. However, it is not impossible.

For one, operators are seeing an increase in the demand for smart ticketing solutions and transport apps. Secondly, fleet managers are well-equipped to manage the logistics of multiple vehicles based on corporate transportation needs. And lastly, studies are being conducted to make sure that drivers’ privacy is still protected even if a fleet company were to adopt the technology of MaaS.

4. Better Fleet Safety

In the UK, HGV crashes are either serious or fatal for almost a quarter of the incidents. This is an increase from only an eighth of incidents in 2015.

Just this year, eight people were killed in an M1 motorway crash involving two lorries and a minibus.

Although newer vehicles come equipped with driver-assist technology, fleet tracking and telematics will continue to develop features that will make our roads safer.

Manufacturers are looking into including automatic braking systems, video backup and monitoring systems, and preemptive warning of lane departures. This is on top of predictive maintenance technology that would give fleet managers onboard diagnostics of each vehicle and detect maintenance problems before it breaks down.

5. New Generation of Fleet Drivers and Managers

In the coming decade, millennials will start dominating the workforce as boomers retire. This generational change will introduce a more tech-savvy demographic into the fleet industry.

New Generation of Fleet Managers & Drivers

As such, these employees will be more receptive and adaptable to using technological enhancements like route scheduling, automated expense reporting, and remote work. This means more efficient operations since field employees would only need the internet to deliver their tasks—saving your company on fuel consumption and your vehicles from extraneous wear-and-tear.

Trends, Not Threats

The fleet industry is historically known to be one of the first to embrace new technology. While plenty of professionals are hesitant to fit new technology into the process, you should look at these trends as opportunities for you to be more efficient with day-to-day operations.

Since 2018 is seeing a more technological influence to fleet management, this is your chance to stay ahead of the curve and install WEBFLEET Technology to your vehicles. For more information, give us a call at 0333 2000 670.