Published on October 12th, 2012 | by josephbker0
The Future of Green: Innovations That Promote Economic Engagement
Fleet companies face challenges that go beyond what the average car owner sees. The automotive landscape changes completely when managing more than one vehicle. Those in charge of a fleet must balance fuel efficiency, environmental responsibility and capital expenditure for multiple cars. Economic innovations have stepped up to help fleets stay true to the current environment. With groundbreaking technology, fleet owners can keep their vehicles in peak condition to save money.
It sounds like something H.G. Wells might have written, but the future of the fleet automotive world might be in driverless cars. One of the inventors of Google’s benchmark Street View program is taking the concept a bit further and removing human fallibility from road travel.
Driverless technology means exactly that – a moving car sans driver. The model uses artificial intelligence along with data collected from Google Street View to direct the car. Google is still in the testing phase of the project, but the results are promising. The company created their own test fleet to see the advanced hardware in action. The new equipment allows the driver to sit back while the car does all the thinking. If necessary, a human can take control back by tapping the brake.
The law is behind the times when it comes to driverless systems. In most states, traffic statutes require a human to do the driving. That is not surprising since lawmakers have probably never imagined the technology. The state of Nevada is breaking the mold at Google’s insistence with laws that allow for driverless cars, but the rest of the country has some catching up to do.
At present, the driverless car program is still in the development stages. How this new technology fits into fleet management is yet to be seen, but that industry is the most likely candidate to benefit from the upgrade. The premise is the advanced, and probably expensive, computer technology will reduce accidents and run the vehicles in a more economic manner to save fleet owners in long run.
Global positioning systems play a large role in both the current fleet management technology and the future systems. The driverless car program uses GPS to track the location of the vehicle and synchronize it with the Google Street View data. Without it, the computer would not know the current speed limit or be able to bypass traffic problems.
Right now, fleet owners rely on GPS to monitor their vehicles. The dispatcher of a trucking company can see where each asset is in real-time using GPS and a tracking system. This puts the manager in charge of each route the driver takes to eliminate costly practices like buddying up on the road – a trick drivers use to bypass the scheduled route and travel together. This costs the fleet both time and money on both trucks. GPS upgrades help recover stolen assets or track a vehicle lost in an accident.
No matter how you look at it, technology plays a big role in the automotive world whether you own one car or dozens. Current fleet management software allows career drivers to report in while on the road, or rental car customers to call for help by pressing a button on their dashboard. It allows dispatchers and emergency vehicles to locate a missing asset in just seconds. In the future, cars will think for themselves to avoid accidents. Already, sensors help prevent rear-end mishaps and curbing damage for tires. Technology can only make fleet management better.