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OEMs are in the driver’s seat for delivering advanced fleet services

Dec 12, 2023

Boosting fleet management efficiency with in-vehicle automation and dynamic data collection solutions

The rise of e-commerce and last-mile delivery services has dramatically increased fleet vehicles on the road, offering OEMs a unique opportunity to capitalize on the surge: firstly, OEMs can more effectively increase vehicle sales to fleet operators by bundling data collection and remote management services with their vehicles. Secondly, this strategy lets automakers tap into new revenue streams from these enhanced services, fueling growth and profit.

OEMs are in a unique position to provide sophisticated and tailored services that address the needs of all types of fleets, including global logistics companies, rental agencies, independent contractors, government organizations, and more.

Navigating operational risks and rewards

A recent survey of more than 300 operators identified high fuel costs (31%) and unexpected maintenance (27%) as primary operational risks in fleet management. A separate study involving 1,800 operators revealed that 39% are planning to increase the use of technology to enhance efficiency. This study also highlights a growing focus on driver safety, with 37% acknowledging improved driver safety as the biggest benefit of using telematics. Compliance reporting is another challenge; when done right, it can streamline the process, as well as help with insurance claims processing.

With fleet sizes ranging from a few to thousands of vehicles, the crux lies in accessing timely, interval-specific vehicle data precisely when needed to maximize fuel cost savings, ensure the highest level of driver safety, efficiently meet regulatory compliance, and minimize maintenance costs. 

Data needs: from global giants to small businesses

Data requirements for fleet management vary widely. Global logistics companies like FedEx and UPS need detailed, frequent, and context-specific vehicle-wide data, while small businesses with fewer vehicles in their fleets may require only weekly location and maintenance tracking updates. Although current OEM embedded telematics offer more detailed data compared to aftermarket OBD-II devices, they still adhere to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach–a model that falls short to meet the specific and diverse needs of today’s fleet operations. 

OEMs must provide solutions that offer highly configurable vehicle data and telematics services, catering to a variety of use cases. These solutions should let both OEMs and their fleet customers dynamically configure the precise vehicle data they need to collect with fine-grained, user-defined policies. And these policies must include conditional triggers to ensure only the relevant data is collected for specific driving situations, reducing data transmission, storage, and processing costs. You can imagine the benefit of tracking excessive idle times for improved fuel efficiency, or monitoring for harsh braking, steering, and unsafe speeding in wet conditions for driver behavior coaching, or collecting ADAS camera data pre- and post-crash for insurance claims and compliance.

This data collection extends to various vehicle systems, like the powertrain, chassis, ADAS, and in-vehicle infotainment, and is critical for applications like predictive maintenance, driver behavior monitoring, and fuel cost optimization, enabling easy and efficient fleet management. 

Automating for competitive advantage

Besides needing precise and timely data for fleet management applications, operators also seek efficiency-enhancing tools. They increasingly turn to technology solutions to cut operational overhead. Remote connected vehicle services provide some benefits, but operators are actively pursuing digital workflows and automation to do more with their data. These technologies are crucial for improving efficiency and cost-savings in fleet operations, a need underscored by the recent surveys.

OEMs have a great chance to do more with their embedded systems. Instead of offering just standard remote services like locking/unlocking doors or starting cars remotely, they can step up their game by using in-vehicle and cloud software to automate a bunch of vehicle tasks. This move would take the burden off of fleet managers by cutting down on their day-to-day workloads. 

With a solution that is tightly integrated with vehicle E/E infrastructure, OEMs can equip fleet operators with automation routines that are both versatile and customizable. Fleet operators can configure these routines to respond to various triggers and perform specific vehicle actions, creating efficient, automated workflows. These can include setting geo-fences for rental compliance, activating speed limits in bad weather, ensuring all driving assistance features are on and unaltered, applying driver-specific vehicle settings, and routinely conducting diagnostic tests for predictive maintenance. 

By providing these comprehensive capabilities, OEMs improve the competitiveness and value of their fleet services–an approach that not only improves operational efficiency and cost savings for fleet operators, but also secures a steady revenue stream for the OEMs.     

OEMs are charting the future of fleet management

The latest surge in fleet vehicle use, alongside the varied operational challenges identified by the recent surveys, presents a prime opportunity for OEMs to capitalize on these evolving needs. By providing advanced data collection and in-vehicle automation, automakers can help significantly reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs, enhance driver safety, and maximize operational efficiency. The time is right for OEMs to offer advanced fleet services to capitalize on the increased demand for commercial vehicles and related services.  

Discover the role of Sonatus Collector and Sonatus Automator in transforming automakers’ approach to fleet management, along with other use cases supported by our products.

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