Recent initiatives from navigations product group TomTom are a prime example of such developments. They include MyDrive enabling drivers to use their smartphone, tablet or PC to review real-time traffic information and plan routes. It has also partnered with Mozilla and Telefonica to bring its Maps Online and Nav Online to HTMLS powered Firefox OS smartphone devices.
“Connected vehicles are here and provide a wide amount of opportunities for businesses and fleet managers,” says Taco van der Leij, VP Marketing at TomTom Telematics. “Companies can build apps around driver and vehicle information such as acceleration data and what exact time drivers will reach their customers to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Very soon we will take data from car manufacturers, integrate it and calibrate it into a platform. This will be important for fleet managers with a variety of vehicle types in their business.”
Dave Rowlands, technical director at logistics group Wincanton, says it is already using android based driver systems where an in-house app can be used on smartphones to upload modules such as driver defect checks. It also uploads the Motorway Buddy app which allows drivers to check out parking prices, the nearest petrol stations and very importantly the nearest toilet.
“It’s all necessary!” says Rowlands. “We are rolling a few hundred android-based systems such as loads, proof of delivery notices. These are not fixed architectures and we can populate drivers’ phones with our apps. We can communicate our traffic requirements to them. We haven’t got telematics on an app yet but that will come soon. It will be easily rolled out.”
He says implementing such traffic software in a cab is a “no-brainer”. He adds: “It will give us data on harsh braking, how a vehicle is being driven and we will make fuel savings by getting behaviour rights. It will also reduce the need to phone the driver.”
He says drivers are becoming increasingly comfortable with in-cab technology. “They have a greater interest in it and almost expect you have to it,” he says. “The only thing we have found they don’t like is forward-facing cameras so facing the driver rather those facing the road.”
In the next instalment of the Connect Roar series we will hear about the future of driverless vehicles…