Technology in the commercial vehicles industry is racing towards the fourth industrial revolution and digitization. Telematics based solutions, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data analytics are changing the way commercial transport fleets are managed.
A big part of this change is the wearable technology that comes in the form of fitness trackers, smartwatches, cameras, GPS tracking devices, jackets with sensors, and headsets. Connecting these devices to a fleet-management system lets managers monitor freight situations, temperature maintenance, breakdowns, driver health, and more.
A study by Deloitte reveals that the global market share for telematics solutions in commercial vehicles will be worth EUR 10 billion by 2026. Software solutions will provide form 80 percent of the share, and hardware will deliver the remaining 20 percent.
Commercial fleet businesses are integrating digital tech into commercial operations for seamless deliveries. Wearable tech is a good way to manage driver attentivity and relay information without distracting from the task. There are devices that can track speed, fuel efficiencies, vehicle fatigue, driver alertness, his/her physiological health, and more to make fleet management more efficient and seamless.
Some wearable devices even integrate the functions of multiple devices
The most important benefit of wearable for companies in the commercial fleet business is “to allow the wearer to access data from anywhere. These devices can bring significant advantages in the areas of driver performance, driver safety and security, and driver health,” said Bart De Muynck, research director at Gartner.
Fujitsu has developed a wearable sensor device called FEELythm. It detects when drivers are drowsy based on their pulse rate. Smartwatches now can deliver important information to the driver creating minimal distraction. Some use the “haptic” tech to alert about messages. PeopleNet’s software for Apple Watch has come up with ConnectedDriver suite of productivity applications for drivers’ personal devices, including smartwatches and phones. It supports Android OS too.
There are headphones that can be worn on the head and relay information and monitor the alertness of the driver. Maven Machines Inc. has developed headsets equipped with sensors that monitor the wearer for signs of fatigue or distraction. Australia-based SmartCap has come up with a baseball cap that has a fatigue-monitoring sensor. SmartCap uses electroencephalography, or EEG, to monitor the wearer’s brainwaves and detect fatigue-related problems, particularly incidents of microsleep. Montreal-based OMSignal has developed a biometric smartwear shirt to measure a driver’s health, like heart rate, body temperature, muscle fatigue, and other physiological aspects through sensors. Truck routing softwares can monitor driver performance, ensure safety, and help in pinpointing wear and tear in the vehicle parts. Data analysis reveals that driver performance can add or reduce fuel costs by 20-30 percent.
Platooning is another important technique being used by fleet managers for optimal operations. Platooning is the networked operation of a fleet of vehicles that maintain an optimal distance and speed for higher efficiency. The technique increases efficiency by almost 18 percent. The connected network keeps drivers alert, follows dynamic map routing, burns a set fuel, which all adds up to optimal deliverables. Bernhard Mattes, German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) president, said at an international conference, “The digitization of traffic opens up completely new opportunities for making mobility smoother and more efficient in large metropolitan areas and beyond. That reduces emissions. Most importantly, digitization, connectivity and automated driving will bring about a quantum jump in road safety.” Frost & Sullivan, a commercial vehicles expert firm, estimate that the connectivity industry in commercial freight carriers will reach $284 billion by 2022. The trucks of the future will no longer be manned by sleepy and fatigued truckers but will be run by a fleet management system, connected with all value-added services, sensors, and IoTs with IA and deep machine learning throwing data, analysis, and solutions in real-time.