The Transformation of Transportation: How Digital Integration Will Advance Vehicle Fleets and Consumer Mobility
Paradigms have shifted. In the past five years, the world of transportation and how people move from place to place has changed rapidly. The future is happening now.
The automotive world is colliding with the software world, with the Internet of Things (IoT), and with cell phone providers. Vehicles are more connected – to the internet and to one another. There are mobility apps and new vehicle automation features developed daily. Consumer expectations have changed. They now talk to their vehicle and tell it what to do. They expect a great experience. They want to use the internet while driving for their music streaming, GPS navigation, and email. They want options. They expect innovative solutions and many solutions will be driven by the IoT. Business leaders expect more. The digital transformation and big data allow companies to improve driver safety, enhance customer experiences, improve operating efficiencies and utilization, and in time autonomous driving will change the model.
Mobility has become the new buzzword in transportation. What is it? Historically, mobility was used in the context of accessibility and moving those with medical needs or those in wheelchairs from place to place.
Transportation is the term tied to a very traditional industry that hasn’t changed in years. Transportation speaks more to the means or vehicle used to get from point A to point B. By thinking in terms of mobility, people can broaden their thinking. The idea is to challenge people to think differently. How can you move people and goods differently and more efficiently than how we do it today.
Transportation is limiting. Mobility is limitless.
Modern mobility depends on network connectivity and revolves around data. Our views of mobility are changing and are more technology-centered and industry driven.
Where will we be five years from now and what is driving those changes?
Car sharing companies such as Zipcar and ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become the new transportation norm. People can now rent cars for short periods of time, often in hours; ride sharing is now commonplace, reducing trips, traffic congestion, and automobile emissions. How will these services change the fleet world? A car sharing fleet could be fully automated. The pick-up, drop-off, scheduling, accounting, etc. would be done through algorithms and mobile software platforms. The results are simplifying the day-to-day fleet management by thinking very differently.
Ride-sharing and car-sharing can be utilized by fleet management as a way to reduce costs from fuel to maintenance to travel time. A single car could serve multiple drivers or multiple clients. This challenges the current business model of “one driver one car.” In urban locations, companies could shift from a one-to-one ratio of drivers to vehicles to many-to-one ratio. This will impact how many vehicles will be needed, who will buy them, and how they will be managed and owned.
Autonomous vehicles (AV) are changing how we look at commercial vehicle fleets. AVs provide the benefits of nonhuman navigation; they can drive closer together, see incidents before a person would, drive without letting emotion affect ability, and navigate completely legally and efficiently. They eliminate the wasted time that human-controlled vehicles spend and the number of vehicles needed in a fleet since one AV can move on to complete tasks for multiple workers in one day. Imagine, after a “driver” has disembarked, the car will go to another “driver” in the nearby area who summoned it or do other tasks it was assigned, such as picking up or dropping off workers at a job site, delivering packages, or collecting merchandise. AV’s will be like bees in a hive, always on the run and with negligible downtime and planned buffer time for recharging. In other words, the shared fleet strategy would increase vehicle utilization, reduce vehicle count, and lower the cost of operating a fleet significantly.
AIoT: The Automotive Internet of Things
The Automotive IoT will continue to push the traditional transportation boundaries. AIoT, along with Software as a Service (SaaS) and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is improving operational performance, creating new customer experiences and changing business models.
These ideas are the tip of the iceberg. When you view transportation and fleet operations from a broader perspective, not just acquiring and running a fleet of vehicles but as an advanced exercise of getting folks from point A to point B in the most efficient, cost-effective, environmentally sustainable and image-conscious way possible, the fleet solutions are limitless.