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What’s in Store for the Future of Fleet Telematics? Brian Dziuk | Aug 18, 2016 2:45:44 PM

Telematics is evolving, and taking over fleet management!Over the years, fleet telematics has changed greatly. Actually, pretty much everything has changed thanks to modern computer technology and the internet.

Fleet managers are more connected with their vehicle fleets than ever before. Data that would once have been impossible to verify, such as exactly where Carl’s semi-truck was at 3:00 a.m. last Sunday, is now just a couple of mouse clicks away.

Many of these changes are things most people would never have expected from a technology that was “just dots on a map.”

But, where do we go now? What’s in store for the future of fleet telematics?

Well, there’s a lot of technologies being developed right now that could completely change the face of fleet management, and many more that could be used to incrementally improve existing technologies.

Here are a few of the technologies that make us excited for the future of telematics.

Self-Driving Vehicles

There are numerous companies working on creating safe cars that can drive themselves without the need for human input.

Autonomous, self-driving cars have been making the news all over the place as of late, and many consumer vehicles already sport some elements of the technology—emergency pedestrian detection & braking, lane guidance, auto parallel parking, etc.

Given enough time and development, these systems could be used to greatly enhance the safety and efficiency of long-distance transportation fleets.

Just think about it: a single driver could be there to monitor and maintain the vehicle, which would stay in motion even while the “driver” rested. No more wrecks caused by exhausted drivers falling asleep behind the wheel, or drivers misjudging stop distances.

Additionally, remote control of assets in the field would be easier than ever before, as fleet managers could program in a route change remotely.

It’s going to take a lot of work to get this system ready for mass deployment to CDL-class vehicles, but the potential is exciting for any fleet manager.

Even More Integration of Every Part of Your Vehicle Fleet

As fleet telematics evolve, even more aspects of the business will be tied into telematics.Here’s an easy one: pretty much every component of the vehicle fleet will become more integrated with telematics solutions as time goes on. This goes beyond items like trucks, cars, and trailers, though.

Already, many companies add GPS tracking apps to employee smartphones to increase their ability to track and communicate with employees in the field. Some GPS tracking devices can track events such as trailer doors opening/closing or changes in temperature.

Every current use of fleet telematics grew out of some need that users had. As companies identify new needs, technologies will continue to be made to meet them.

Smaller, More Powerful, Longer-Lasting GPS Trackers

Telecom devices such as cell phones used to be huge... now they're tiny.For a long time, Hollywood’s had a pretty unrealistic depiction of GPS devices. In the movies, a thumbnail-sized tracker would last for weeks and provide a strong, consistent tracking signal.

Ridiculous? Yes, but…

If you showed an old cell phone from the ‘80s to a modern consumer, the sheer size of one of those monsters would probably shock them. Foot-long antennae and brick-sized battery packs were once the norm.

Today, we have cell phones barely larger than a candy bar that have better range and battery life while doubling as touchscreen computers.

One of the major limiting factors for GPS technology and fleet telematics is the need for both a strong telecom signal and a steady supply of power. The more frequently a GPS unit updates, the faster it will run through its battery.

However, there is promising new research being done into the design of batteries to minimize battery size, increase cyclability (lifetime recharges before losing efficiency), improve charge speed, and allow batteries to last longer on a single charge.

Progress on these new battery technologies is slow, but promising. If developed enough, new batteries could make miniaturized GPS not tied to a vehicle’s electrical system more practical, allowing for GPS tagging of individual assets for antitheft purposes.

These are just a few of the things that we may see in fleet telematics in the future. Whatever may come, we’ll be there to help you through these changes.

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