Tag Archives: fleet management

Upfitting Your Fleet with Emergency and Liability Safety Technology

Fleet of transport trucks

Running a business fleet of vehicles is about more than just providing service or transportation. Each vehicle is an extension of the business and a conveyance for employees. The vehicle is at once responsible for employee safety and an asset that represents company responsibility. So it comes as no surprise that an increasing number of companies are upfitting their fleets not just with cool tech for convenience but also with emergency and liability safety technology.

What do we mean by that? Today, we’re talking about technology designed to both protect your employees from harm and protect the company and drivers from false liability claims if the vehicle is involved in an accident. Outside your company headquarters is a big world of possibilities, and not all of them are awesome. Upfitting your fleet with these five technologies can significantly increase driver safety and company safety should worst-case-scenarios occur.

 

1) Streaming Dash Cams, Front and Back

Dash cams have been around for over a decade but have recently risen to even greater usefulness. Now you have the ability to record, archive, and even internet-stream the footage collected from dash cams at both the front and rear of every company fleet vehicle.

This records what is going on around the vehicle at all times, acting simultaneously as a trip record and a security camera setup at the same time. If one of your drivers is involved in an accident, you can review the footage (potentially live-streamed to HQ) immediately to learn exactly what happened.

This can tell you if the fleet vehicle or the other involved drivers were at fault, what happened before and after the accident, and even collect evidence for police and insurance companies like the license plate of a hit-and-run vehicle. Not to mention, you can use any dash cam footage to create training videos for new drivers.

 

2) Safe Driving Guidance Cameras

Guidance cameras are a feature usually only seen on very high-end vehicles but just because your fleet didn’t come with them installed doesn’t mean you can’t have them. By installing very small cameras at the corners of each bumper, you can make it possible for your drivers to always see a few feet out from their vehicle. They can better see curbs, approaching vehicles, and other details through a simulated top-view, giving a safe-driving and safe-parking perspective that few non-luxury drivers get to experience.

This can act to protect both the vehicle and your drivers as an extra point of perspective and visual safety.

 

3) Onboard Dispatch Direct Assistance

We love the idea of car insurance and roadside assistance companies that can ‘phone’ directly into the car with hands-free communication if a problem is detected. But you don’t have to have On-Star or similar services to provide the same kind of cool integrated support for your fleets. With today’s wireless technology, you can hook Dispatch directly into built-in car speakers any time something alarming is detected through your GPS tracking, OBD sensor, or just if drivers hit an available button or speak a specific “wake word” to call dispatch.

This way, you don’t have to rely on phones that may or may not be charged to immediately open a support call between your fleet vehicles and dispatch. This can be particularly useful during difficult driving situations and in the event of an emergency.

 

4) Authorized Employee Driver Detection

If you have ever worried that non-authorized employees or even non-employees will get behind the wheel, there’s technology for that, too. There are, actually, many different ways to upfit your fleet vehicles to detect if the driver is an authorized driving employee. You might use RFID detection to sense an employee badge or wristband. You might use biometric data like fingerprints, eye scans, or voice recognition. Or an automated system might ask for a specific passcode or even a quiz question that only an authorized driver would know the answer to.

We advise that you do not disable a vehicle without an authorized driver, in case the vehicle needs to be moved by a non-driver in an emergency. But a non-authorized driver should absolutely trigger a call-through from dispatch and live GPS tracking.

 

5) Self-Generating Route Records

Finally, with very little upfitting at all, you can set up your vehicles to create automatic records of the routes they have taken. Using GPS geofencing, and/or navigation systems you can create simple or detailed logs of company vehicle whereabouts. These logs will not be employee-editable because they will be based only on the physical locations of the vehicle at set times or when destinations were reached. In case the location of each vehicle ever comes into question, these records will be incredibly useful to show both where vehicles were point-to-point and the routes they took along with exact times.

You can use this data to analyze route efficiency and on-time customer care. And, should it ever come up, law enforcement can make use of this data to confirm that your vehicles were on route and occupied during any times in question.

Upfitting your business fleet with clever technological upgrades isn’t just for efficiency and coolness factor, it can also keep your teams safe from physical and legal dangers as well. Working on a new design for upfitting your fleet? Contact us today to speak to one of our specialists about vehicle upfitting and where the future is taking business technology!

How Voice Control and “Smart Home” Technology are Changing Fleet Management

smart automotive fleet management

The sophisticated development of voice-controlled technology introduced by the smart home “trend” is the best thing that has ever happened to fleet management. Or, more to the point, driver safety. Hands-free was already something that vehicle technology was working on when smart homes took center-stage in popular tech trends. But the voice controls of the original hands-free programs and GPS routing were clunky and often not really as hands-free as we would have liked.

But with the introduction of the fully integrated, wireless, and intuitively responsive IoT network, fleets are the ones that stand to benefit the most. Fleet managers have the ability and greater future potential to tap into a vehicle’s systems to provide direct guidance to drivers. And drivers are gaining more and more control over their vehicles and devices while finally able to keep both hands firmly on the wheel.

Let’s take a quick yet thorough exploration of where today’s voice control technology is taking the present and future of fleet management.

 

Voice-Controlled Vehicle Lights, Sound, and Internal Features

Part of the challenge of professional driving is physical coordination. Drivers must control every aspect of the vehicle with quick flips of buttons, levers, and switches. While automated transmission significantly simplified driving the cars of thirty years ago, now vehicles are capable of so much more. Today, drivers are still reaching for the touch-pad or volume-knob to control the sound system. They are still flicking levers to control the lights or reaching for the CB radio to convey messages. These little actions could lead to distraction at a critical moment, as mobile devices have taught us.

As voice automation in vehicles is refined, soon drivers will be able to control more than their GPS with voice. They will be able to say “Brights” and have the brights switch on and off or “Scan” and “Stop” to control the radio without having to reach for a button or stab at a touchscreen.

 

Voice-Request Stats, Facts, and Updates

Smart home AI personalities like Alexa are already integrating with vehicles to provide conversational information to drivers who need it without requiring someone to pull over and look up a fact or update on their phones. Alexa will read off web searches on command, provide weather reports, and convey updates from HQ through the appropriate skill. This allows drivers to ask for and receive the information they need on-demand without taking their attention from the road for a moment. In fact, Alexa even reads Kindles and plays Audiobooks for entertainment.

 

Hands-Free Route Navigation Changes

GPS responsive navigation with traffic, weather, and construction updates is definitely among the best things that has ever happened to fleet drivers. The ability to see traffic and a moving map in real-time is invaluable, even for those talented individuals who can navigate the city smoothly without it. However, changing routes has traditionally required stopping or tasking the passenger to interact.

Voice controls are only recently reaching the point where AIs can effectively understand changes in routing commands, or maintain a route while accepting orders to make minor adjustments. But as the technology advances (and with the assistance from HQ-controlled navigation) drivers will be able to adapt their routes aptly with voice commands alone.

 

Drivers Safely Update Service Customers while On the Road

For fleets that provide on-site service to customers, keeping the schedule is important. But because you don’t control the traffic, the weather, or the construction plans for the city sometimes making an appointment is impossible. And sometimes drivers make much better time than they expect. When either occurs, it will be useful for drivers to have the ability to trigger a helpful service schedule update sent to the customers.

 

Hands-Free Requests for HQ or Emergency Assistance

Finally, vehicle voice controls are making it ever-easier for drivers to maintain communication with HQ while on the road. Whether they need a new route, updates, or emergency roadside assistance,  drivers are gaining the ability to trigger a hands-free conversation with HQ sometimes without even making a phone call. Voice communication has made it possible to simply open an internet-powered channel back to dispatch for whatever assistance or update a driver might need.

Technology is changing the landscape of business fleet management and the future is bright. The trends and innovations brought on by the smart home and IoT products have far greater safety and functionality potential for fleet managers than has yet to be imagined. Soon, we will be seeing vehicles that are fully voice-automated from the headlights to fold-out cupholders. For more fleet management insights and innovations that will make use of your USB upfitting, contact us today!