Find the right solution for your business with our free Fleet Management Buyer’s Guide.
August 20, 2019
Fleet owners and operators have commonly been judged from the outside as laggards or late majority adopters of innovative technology. Sometimes that judgment may hold some truth but many fleets have been held back by older technology in trucks and legacy systems. But now, with the onset of connected vehicle technology, such as V2V, V2I and V2X; as well as platooning and autonomous vehicles, fleet owners are able to shift that perception as they take on the role of early adopters.
Vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology - commonly described as V2V - is a smart technology that enables vehicle data to exchange from one vehicle to another. Communication for V2V technology is based on dedicated short-range communications (DSRC). This isn’t exactly new technology, it’s been around for decades, but V2V will have the greatest impact on vehicle safety once it is widely available.
V2V communication enables motor vehicles to access information about the speed and position of other V2V enabled vehicles surrounding it using a protocol similar to that of Wi-Fi. That data is then used to alert drivers of potential dangers, helping to reduce accidents and traffic congestion. V2V can detect dangerous traffic and road conditions, terrain issues, and weather threats within a range of 300 meters. V2V has the power to make driving a more predictable and safe activity for everyone on the road.
In 2015, The University of Michigan opened M-City, the world’s first controlled environment for testing connected and automated driving technologies. M-City is an opportunity for manufacturers and tech providers to research connected car technology, including V2V and autonomous driving. Verizon invested in M-City as part of 15 ‘leadership circle’ companies dedicated to advancing technological innovation the industry.
V2I, or vehicle-to-infrastructure technology, captures data such as traffic congestion, weather advisories, bridge clearance levels, and then wirelessly transmits it to inform drivers of conditions they need to be aware of which aids in safety. Smart traffic signals powered by V2I help drivers understand traffic conditions better, helping to estimate accurate arrival times which can improve communication between drivers and customers.
V2I is part of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program which was designed to facilitate technology adoption within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The future of V2I could lead to better driver-assistance systems such as smart parking and autonomous driving vehicles, which could enhance future city planning of traffic lanes, parking lots and more.
V2X, also known as vehicle-to-everything, encompasses both V2V and V2I technology. V2X technology makes every automobile on the road smarter and safer by giving them the power to “communicate” with the traffic system, including other cars and infrastructure. V2X can notify drivers of dangerous weather conditions, accidents and traffic congestion nearby, and other dangerous behaviors happening in close range. V2X provides a lot of the information we have available to us as humans directly to the car or truck, reducing the reaction time it takes for the driver to respond. V2X also makes the driving process easier by automating payments for tolls and parking.
V2X communication is the future of autonomous driving, but the V2X market still has a long way to come. Similarly to V2I and V2V technology, V2X will be most effective when every truck, bus, car, motorcycle, and even bicycle, comes standard with this connected vehicle technology.
Other types of connected vehicle technology
V2V, V2I and V2X get a lot of the buzz these days when it comes to connected car tech, but there are countless other innovations already being used or in the process of development, including:
- Vehicle-to-Network (V2N) - enables vehicle-to-vehicle communication over cellular networks, such as LTE.
- Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) - V2G technology is still being developed but centers around the idea of using batteries in electric cars and trucks as a power source in the electrical grid based on real-time demands for power.
- Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V) - B2V is technology introduced by Nissan that connects a driver’s brain with their automobile; not currently in use. This technology could radically change the future of driving and safety altogether.
- Platooning - this technology would connect two or more trucks in a caravan to lower fuel consumption and Co2 emissions, improve safety with automatic braking, and increase efficiency.
What are the benefits of connected vehicle technology?
Some of the benefits of a greater number of connected vehicles include access to comprehensive information that can help businesses:
- Better serve their customers
- Create additional efficiency and productivity
- Promote safer habits for workers and drivers
- Manage a reliable return on assets and vehicles
The right technology can help drivers improve their routes so that they drive fewer miles and service more customers in a given shift, helping to improve both customer satisfaction and the bottom line. Read more about how one company gained a competitive advantage and improved customer relations by increasing the accuracy of arrival times.
Additionally, the data gleaned from the platform can help to identify opportunities to improve driver behavior, anticipate breakdowns and manage maintenance schedules to improve unit uptime. The software also tracks drivers’ Hours of Service (HOS) compliance electronically, enabling them to collect payment at the point a load is delivered or service is provided.
As technology continues to transform the way businesses operate and interact with consumers and connected cars, it’s safe to say a shortsighted approach focused on achieving immediate needs with minimal investment can yield strong near-term results but could leave you vulnerable losing business to competitors with more comprehensive digital transformation strategies.
The future of connected vehicle technology
What will connected car technology look like in the future? For consumers, it may be a self-driving car that gets them safely to their destination without a driver. For businesses, it may mean driverless trucks but concerns over cyber security attacks.
Concerns over the safety and privacy of connected car technologies are currently being debated and worked through on multiple levels - from private tech companies to government agencies. The ever changing needs of compliance raise questions, along with insurance and liability concerns in the case of accidents. Read more about the future of connected car tech.