A driver checking the details of his next stop on his phone. Low tire pressures from an overnight drop in temperature. Front brakes with only 22% of their pad life left. Any of these items by themselves might seem relatively harmless, but the fact is they often combine with other small issues, leading to much bigger problems for fleets. In the past, the correlations between such small details were difficult to discover for fleet managers, but the total connected vehicle space will soon have a new product to finally change that.

A revolution in telematics is coming that promises to provide fleet managers and drivers under their guardianship with far more relevant and actionable data than in the past, enabling them to turn mountains of problem-causing ingredients into manageable molehills that never materialize. With these upcoming advances in telematics, fleet managers will gain a 360-degree view of overall fleet and driver behavior no matter what make and model of vehicle they drive. There will be nearly limitless possibilities for not just lowering fleet hard operational expenses, but also the reduction of soft expenses like inefficient workflows, driver habits that increase labor expenses, and factors contributing to worker fatigue.

Telematics integrations enabled by the Internet of Things

Telematics isn’t a new technology at this point, it has been providing companies with fleets the ability to better forecast maintenance by gathering basic vehicle diagnostic data over the OBD-II standard for many years now. In recent telematics advances, more data point sensors have been introduced, providing fleet managers with much deeper insight than simple wear and tear part statuses and preventative maintenance forecasts. Now it’s possible to much more accurately forecast unexpected parts failures through benchmarking data, a major improvement as unexpected part failures are the most disruptive to the bottom line of all service issues because they affect not just equipment costs but driver labor costs as well. Paying an employee to wait in a broken-down truck is like setting a pile of money on fire, not to mention the ill-will it creates with the employee who might then have to work a longer shift to complete their work. As helpful as recent advances in the telematics space has been, a more complete view generated by a total telematics system has the potential to offer exponentially better returns on investment in the technology than ever before.

Before the advent of more advanced central control systems in vehicles, the boom in the “Internet of Things” (IoT) for consumer goods resulted in sensors and data transmitters being integrated into a plethora of in-home devices that connect with some sort of central hub like a cellphone or smart speaker like Amazon’s Alexa. We now have coffee makers that automatically turn on with the press of a phone’s snooze button, doors that lock automatically when leaving the electronic borders of a home, tiny keychain tokens that track keys and can even ring to assist in location, and cars with multiple cameras placed inconspicuously that are able to scan a 360 degree perimeter even in the rain at night. Because of this boom, the costs of the components that make all of this data connectivity possible have come down dramatically along with increasingly fast supply chains for ever-more integrations. Now, these technologies are starting to stream into the fleet management world to improve the lives of fleet managers, the drivers they are responsible for, end customers, and society as a whole.

Fleet asset protection possibilities

Protecting the movable assets that travel in fleet vehicles is also possible. Take for example a telematics integration like BeWhere, which utilizes low energy beacons to automatically track movable assets to better manage tools, equipment, inventory, and other non-powered assets. Fleets that have numerous onboard high-value assets stand to realize incredible savings with systems like this by reducing inefficient tool placement in vehicles, prevention of forgetting tools at the shop or customer location, tracking of inventory, and theft prevention. Integrations such as Quik Lokate utilize wireless Bluetooth sensors with temperature, light, proximity, door open/close, and humidity options which can greatly assist in product shrinkage for fleets in the food, beverage, and technology industries where inventories are more susceptible to environmental damage.

Of course, the most crucial assets to be protected using a total telematics system are the people driving fleet vehicles and those potentially affected by accidents with fleet vehicles. Integrations like the camera-based Mobileye Collision Avoidance System warn drivers of the risk of a collision a few seconds before it happens. The system works by continuously monitoring the road ahead and analyzing for the risks of oncoming collisions, unintended lane departures, tailgating, and pedestrian and cyclist hazards. The system can differentiate between vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists, while also recognizing lane markings and speed limit signs. This all adds up to a fleet experiencing far fewer occurrences of harm to humans, damage to fleet vehicles, and even customer property damage.

Driver-centric integrations add even more value to data

The ability to measure and track nearly every asset a worker interacts with is a boon for sure,

but what may prove even more advantageous is the ability to detect driver habits that contribute to accidents and overall poor performance. The Guardian by Seeing Machines is a highly advanced real-time accident prevention technology, using sophisticated eye and face tracking software to detect driver fatigue and distraction. This device can provide immediate intervention through in-cab audio and vibration alerts to the driver. The system also provides fleet managers with daily and weekly reports along with notifications when drivers are at risk.

Additionally, the connected wearables market segment of the IoT revolution can be tapped to integrate worker biometric feedback into the data stream for even more granular data. Small biometric sensors can be easily embedded in unobtrusive wearables like wristbands. Think Fitbit, but for fleets. The implications of this are potentially massive. If companies can get a more detailed read on the true factors contributing to worker fatigue, for example, that insight alone could result in tremendous savings by leading to reduced insurance premiums, workers suffering from fewer overuse stress injuries and even better worker diet choices that help maintain steady energy levels.

Wearables can provide biometric feedback like blood glucose, blood alcohol content, and heart rate, but also can include accelerometers to measure worker movements in fine detail, such as time spent searching for tools in the work vehicle, average time waiting at suppliers or customers, or how much walking is done throughout their day. This provides a much clearer picture of the true factors leading to worker productivity loss. Perhaps stepping down out of the truck backward using a hand-grab leads to less fatigue than jumping down onto one foot first. The simplest of movements over an entire workday can at the very least add up to hours of lost productivity over time, not to mention workers’ comp claims from injuries. These devices bring to light such tiny optimizations with huge potential benefits.

The total connected vehicle – a true 360 view for fleet management

Of course, a multitude of sensors providing near-infinite amounts of data from both vehicles and workers is completely useless in raw form. What’s required is some serious computing power to crunch it into usable feedback that isn’t totally overwhelming to fleet managers and drivers alike. The new OneConnect vehicle dashboard by LeasePlan does just that. The OneConnect is a 360-degree fleet view tool that helps companies with fleets manage everything from maintenance and fuel costs to driver behavior, route mapping, and more. This central hub for processing information from an array of data sources regardless of vehicle make and model will be able to assist in finding unexpected links between data points that reveal new ways to optimize fleet costs and driver processes. Even more impactful is all of that data is aggregated and processed across a global network of many different fleets, enabling us to benchmark and implement the factors that contribute most to the bottom line. From a data science standpoint, this amount of data is far more statistically accurate, and hence, more relevant and actionable for companies in decision-making across the board.

Being able to discover connections never considered before is just one facet of new total connected vehicle telematics systems. The end customer also stands to enjoy a much higher level of customer service from companies implementing these systems. Shorter shipping times, fewer items lost in transit, less instances of forgotten tools or supplies that delay job progress, and more accurate arrival times for service appointments are merely scratching the surface of ways customers will enjoy superior levels of service. Overall, this technology enables a vastly improved experience for every stakeholder involved, from fleet manager to driver to end customer. Telematics has come a very long way already, but a sea change is approaching that will truly revolutionize fleet management in ways never before possible. Preventative maintenance planning can be entirely data-driven versus still using a discomforting amount of guesswork based on relatively unscientific tracking methods. Workers will be able to perform more consistently throughout the day instead of having as many peaks and valleys in their personal energy and performance. And most importantly, the occurrence of accidents will be drastically reduced. Millions of data points, generated by a multitude of sensors, all crunched into actionable feedback by a central hub will soon almost entirely prevent minor maintenance issues from building up to the point of problems.

Sources: Geotab, Automotive Fleet

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Alpharetta, GA. (Nov. 18, 2019) – LeasePlan USA, a global leader in fleet management and driver mobility services, today launched a unique new platform further evolving its telematics value proposition into a new frontier in fleet management. OneConnect is a new Connected Vehicle cloud platform that merges real-time raw data from vehicles on the road with proprietary LeasePlan fleet management data providing the best 360-degree view of overall fleet performance and driver behavior.

“OneConnect provides a window into never before-seen fleet insights,” said Felipe Smolka, executive vice president of transformation, who leads on strategy and innovation at LeasePlan USA. “The uniqueness of our new approach lands a fresh flavor on how to look at a fleet, as we now have the opportunity to marry all relevant data points into one single pane of glass.”

The platform aligns with existing LeasePlan innovations such as the MyLeasePlan mobile app, virtual assistant Elle and OneScore to help fleet managers take more control over driver behavior, route mapping, risk and most importantly – safety. Driver safety and efficiency mark the cornerstones of this exciting new product.

“The aim is to provide our clients with the tools they need to maintain a one-to-one connection with their drivers regardless of fleet size. OneConnect allows them to do this seamlessly and in a digital way”, said James Brand, product manager, LeasePlan. “We know risky behavior leads to higher TCO.”

Geotab, a global telematics leader, partnered with LeasePlan to provide access to high-quality data using Geotab’s open-platform API for the OneConnect platform. “Finding ways to improve road safety and efficiency has always been a top priority for Geotab,” stated Geotab CEO Neil Cawse. “Solutions such as LeasePlan’s OneConnect can enable better data-driven decision making to help businesses better manage their fleets through improved visibility into both their vehicles and drivers.”

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About LeasePlan

LeasePlan is one of the world’s leading Car-as-a-Service companies, with 1.9 million vehicles under management in over 30 countries. Our core business involves managing the entire vehicle life-cycle for our clients, taking care of everything from purchasing and maintenance to car re-marketing. With more than 50 years’ experience, we are a trusted partner for our corporate and mobility service clients. Our mission is to provide what’s next in sustainable mobility via an ‘Any car, Anytime, Anywhere’ service – so our customers can focus on what’s next for them. Find out more at www.leaseplan.com.

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Oregon secures the position of the strictest state for texting while driving with a maximum fine of $1,000 for the offense, which is 10 times the median fine in the U.S., according to a recent study from Rosenblum Law.

However, Oregon doesn’t use a point system so while violators are hit in the wallet, they won’t necessarily have their license suspended.

Easily the second-strictest state, Utah will fine drivers as much as $750 for a first offense of texting behind the wheel. In addition, the offense carries 50 points; those who accrue 200 points in three years can have their license suspended. 

Illinois ranks third — hitting drivers where it hurts most as opposed to in their pocketbooks. While the $75 penalty may seem mild, a conviction for texting means 10 points on a license. What’s more, the state can suspend a license that accrues 15 or more points over a 4-year period — making Illinois the state most likely to suspend a license for texting.

Wisconsin ranks fourth for being tough on texting. A texting ticket in the state can set drivers back as much as $400. It will also result in four points on a license, and Wisconsin can suspend any license with 12 or more points on it. 

Alaska can be pretty cold when it comes to drivers who text — taking the fifth spot for strictest state. In fact, Alaska previously had the most aggressive anti-texting laws on the books, charging drivers with a misdemeanor criminal offense.

In 2016, Alaska changed texting behind the wheel to a moving violation with a fine of up to $500 and two points on one’s license. A driver who reaches 12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months can have a license suspended. 

The top five most lenient states for texting include Montana, which imposes no fine and no points, followed by California with a $20 fine, New Mexico ($25), South Carolina ($25), and Iowa ($30). None of these states give motorists points on their license for texting behind the wheel.

Source: Automotive Fleet

Source: traffictickets.com

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A vehicle’s total cost of ownership (TCO) is comprised of its fixed costs, all operating expenses, and depreciation per year or during the course of its service life, minus its anticipated resale value. Typically, this formula is calculated prior to initial acquisition to use as a selection metric, but it is important to remember that TCO is not a static number.

During the course of a vehicle’s service life, TCO is subject to change due to a vehicle’s age and numerous external factors. For instance, external market factors cause fuel prices to fluctuate, commodity costs to rise exerting upward pressure on tire and part prices, and depreciation rates tend to parallel wholesale market conditions and consumer buying preferences. These external factors can influence the TCO competiveness of one vehicle segment vis-à-vis another. For example, lower fuel prices are changing TCO considerations by lowering truck operating costs and increasing resale values, while negatively impacting residuals for compact sedans and hybrids.

TCO also influences vehicle replacement policies. Nearly all fleet-related expenses, both fixed and operating, are influenced by when a vehicle is taken out of service. The long-term trend in vehicle cycling by commercial fleets is a gradual increase in the service lives of vehicles. Over the years, automotive OEMs have dramatically improved vehicle quality and lengthened powertrain warranties, allowing companies to more confidently extend the service life of less risky fleet assets, such as fleets operating light-duty trucks.

Industry data reveal that light-duty truck and cargo van fleets have steadily pushed out their months-in-service parameters; with sedan fleets likewise extending asset use but at a slower average rate. Many fleets, especially mid-size fleets, are now moving to an 80,000-mile replacement parameter as fleet operations are pressured by senior management to rein in capital expenditures. Often, replacement cycling is only seen by management through a financial prism and viewed as a dollars-and-cents lifecycle cost decision. It is very common for companies to cut fleet costs by extending vehicle replacement cycles so the deferred cash flow can be diverted to other corporate expenditures. 

Evolution from policy to flexible guidelines

Traditionally, fleet replacement policy is expressed as a combination of time and mileage, such as months-in-service and mileage bands. The policy is based on the converse trending of fixed and variable expenses during the life of the vehicle. Fixed costs tend to decelerate as a vehicle ages, while variable/operating costs tend to increase. When these two costs are charted over the life of a vehicle, the conventional wisdom is to replace a vehicle when the descending fixed cost line intersects the rising variable cost line.

Today, a growing number of fleets are shifting to more flexible vehicle replacement cycles. In fact, some fleets no longer call their replacement cycle a “policy” and now refer to it as a “guideline.” The rationale is that they want to reserve the right to determine when to take a vehicle out of service based on prevailing market conditions, rather than predetermined mileage and/or months-in-service parameters. Enabling this shift is the growing sophistication of lifecycle optimization modeling, in particular, the development of analytics to calculate the various “what if” scenarios to identify the optimal vehicle replacement parameters.

A flexible replacement guideline can take diametrically opposite directions. One direction could be to extend a replacement cycle as a short-term solution to compensate for a reduction in a capital expenditure budget. For example, service fleets, which have higher cap costs due to additional upfit equipment, will keep vehicles in service longer than light-duty fleets to control capital expenditures.

The other direction in a flexible replacement guideline is to shorten service life to shortcycle vehicles to take advantage of an exceptionally strong resale market, as was the case several years ago. Some fleets have decided they don’t want to be locked into a specified vehicle replacement cycle and prefer to remain nimble with a market-driven flexible replacement strategy. This mindset believes it is financially prudent to have greater flexibility in replacement cycling since extenuating market circumstances may make it more advantageous to either keep vehicles in service longer or shorter, depending on market conditions. 

Migration from TCO to a more precise LCO

Vehicle connectivity and more sophisticated predictive maintenance data analytics will prompt a shift away from TCO to a more precise methodology focused on the “lowest cost of ownership” (LCO). In the final analysis, the most accurate lifecycle analysis in making the initial acquisition decision up through the best replacement strategy is one based on real-time data coupled with historical data.

Predictive modeling based on vehicle data continuously streamed by telematics will increase fleet efficiencies. For example, a study by IBM found that predictive analytics could cut fault diagnostic times by 70% and repair times by 20%. 

Predictive modeling will provide the ability to better manage downtime and maximize fleet utilization. This will transform the traditional preventive maintenance model that is time- and mileage-based to one that is data-driven. Long-term, this will usher a shift away from a traditional reactive maintenance program to predictive maintenance model. In the future, repairs will be only completed before a disabling failure, so the utilization of vehicle assets will be maximized. 

Predictive maintenance technology doesn’t prevent failures; it provides early warning of future failures that allows managers to decide where and when to repair before a failure occurs. This will help to minimize unexpected downstream failures and reduce driver/vehicle downtime. Ultimately, this data will be used to forecast the optimal time to replace a unit. 

Source: Automotive Fleet

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LeasePlan executives will be presenting at two big industry conferences this week, Fleet Forward Conference in San Jose, Ca., and Connected Fleets USA, Atlanta, Ga.

Felipe Smolka, executive vice president, transformation, joins an exciting panel at Connected Fleets USA, to discuss Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and the challenges it will bring to the fleet industry. Today, MaaS is all about giving people customized and flexible transportation options, but how can existing – and indeed future – technology be leveraged for managing a shared fleet?

“I’m looking forward to the event and to contributing to what I’m sure will be an insightful panel discussion. Mobility-as-a-Service is an exciting area for fleet to move into, but also an extremely important one. MaaS is without a doubt the future of the transportation industry in general, and we’ve already made extensive inroads into solving some of the unique problems faced by consumers in this space. The trucking industry especially is ripe and ready for disruption, and I think we will see that with MaaS.” said Smolka.

For more information about the event, click here:

Greg Buckland, chief information officer, will co-present a session on data privacy and controls at Fleet Forward. With so much computing power packed into our vehicles today, and continuous streams of data being fed back and analyzed, we need to be careful to ensure that strict privacy regulations and protocols are always followed. And it can get confusing fast. This panel seminar takes the data conversation to the next step for fleets, understanding how the data will be accessed and data governance usage, obtaining driver consents to use their data, and much more.

Buckland had this to say: “I am excited to be part of a conference that focuses on tech in fleet. As our lives become more connected we must pay close attention to the increase of data in our vehicles and from our vehicles. Security often becomes a second thought to progress. GDPR and now CCPA are bringing security and privacy back into focus where it should be. More than ever it is important to establish best practices around driver and vehicle data to continue to harvest the benefits from it while keeping our clients’ information protected.”

For more information about the event, click here:

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