Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a decisive juncture in history, specifically where our modes of mobility are concerned. Each day we edge further into the climate crisis that we have personally fostered. Modern-day transportation, comprising cars, buses, trucks, and motorbikes, is responsible for around a quarter of overall global CO2 emissions.
Given the increasing severity of the air pollution issue, it is evident that appropriate action is needed. Fortunately, the defining characteristic of our age is technological advancement and no area of our society is left untouched by it. New approaches to urban mobility are on their way in the coming years so as to tackle the, currently unsustainable, levels of traffic congestion in cities. The fleet vehicle industry will be directly impacted by such changes; it’s for this reason we've compiled the top 11 trends in the field that are contributing to a cleaner & greener future, including how to make the most of their emergence.
1.The Internet of Things (IoT)
It’s been a fact for many years now that the world is becoming exponentially more digitised, although it’s only been relatively recently since transport has begun to feel the effects. The IoT refers to physical objects that have the capability of exchanging varied data across communications networks, such as the internet, with other devices and systems. This concept is now being applied to fleets in the form of devices which can be installed onto each vehicle and, from there, interact with sensors so that pertinent data can be processed, transferred, and stored in an online system. Off the back of this data, fleet managers can, for instance, optimise journeys in order to minimise fuel usage. Thereby, simultaneously reducing a fleet’s expenditure and carbon footprint.
2.Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)
It may be hard to comprehend that autonomous vehicles are already in quite wide circulation and, moreover, that they’re definitely here to stay. Having said this, it is taking a little longer for fleet vehicles specifically to join the front. Autonomous fleet vehicles still demand attentive supervision and must undergo meticulous testing before their suitability is guaranteed. However, it’s certain that AVs will maintain a strong presence due to how they have been shown to dramatically increase road safety. This is owing to such technology centering around risk prevention, a clear concern for both those within and without the industry. Autonomous vehicles have a constant 360-degree view of their surroundings and can address critical circumstances by seamlessly adapting to them, making their position in our future tightly anchored.
3.Electric Vehicles (EVs)
In an ideal world, all our modes of transport would be powered by electricity. If this were the case, then mobility would cease to place strain upon our environment. The good news is that there is a visible expansion of EVs: we are seeing a growing number of electric cars, bikes, and scooters on the road. Yet, the majority of vehicles still use fuel. There is the restrictive implication that there must first be a complete societal overhaul before EVs become a standard. Not to mention, advancements in charging and security are still found wanting. It’s certain this trend will firmly continue into the coming years, with its adoption by fleets already experiencing substantial traction.
4.Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
Cars collectively make up the method of transport which most contributes to our climate situation, owing to the sheer amount that are present and readily available. Their convenience makes it easy to see why they are so prevalent. A big step forward in urban mobility would be to remove our persistent need to use them. MaaS presents a solution here: it poses a way for people to use a singular platform where journeys requiring multiple modes can be efficiently planned and paid for all-in-one. If such an option is widely accessible, then personally-owned vehicles no longer appear favourable. Consequently, congestion is lessened and on-road fleet operations become more sustainable than ever.
Micromobility offers the most energy-efficient way of getting from A to Z. Additionally, it entails little loss regarding convenience, save for what relative effort is inherent in the use of bicycles. Aside from bicycles, micromobility consists of the aforementioned electric scooters, bikes, and skateboards. The obvious environmental benefits, alongside ease-of-use, is what’s leading to a steady increase in popularity for urban micromobility. Further relevance is found in how micromobility provides a cheap alternative for fleets, especially important in the context of last-mile delivery challenges.
6.Artificial Intelligence (AI)
To some, it might only seem like yesterday that AI was a far-fetched theory despite it now being applicable to many industries, including mobility. AI-based programs are particularly integral in making the previously mentioned autonomous vehicles achievable. Beyond this, AI can function to afford prospective maintenance signals so that insurance costs are minimised, all while improving the efficiency at which fleet management routines concerning production, data, and analytics are carried out. As such, innovations in AI contribute to sustainable practices by similarly prioritising expenditure reduction & streamlining administrative duties.
It is not just on-road operations that are being affected by trends in mobility. A big part of mobility is the manufacturing of automotive parts for design testing. Prototyping is costly and often inadvertently produces greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the case of large-scale fleet testing. 3D printing considerably lessens such output by utilising different materials, some of which are proven to be more versatile and eco-friendly. Rather than abandoned prototypes ending up in landfill, they can either be recycled for other purposes or biodegraded.
8.Augmented Reality (AR)
AR overlays interactive computer-generated content onto the real world. It may be surprising that this can be applied to fleet vehicles and mobility, however, AR’s goal is to attain informative immersion. If a driver is more immersed in their job, then they are, naturally, less likely to be distracted by external factors. AR utilities force a driver’s attention to their windshield, where a heads-up display (HUD) presents them with navigation data and safety warnings. In essence, offering feedback on efficiency while keeping them safe.
One component to be fulfilled in order to attain a systemic overhaul of mobility is the implementation of a smart infrastructure. Smart infrastructures in urban areas are fundamentally based on IoT and manifest as a vast ecosystem made up of smart roads & an array of signs and signals which interface with sensors in manual vehicles and autonomous vehicles alike. The heightened degree of visual stimulation is a key element in ultimately improving energy distribution and air quality while reducing traffic congestion. The implication for fleets is the total optimisation of delivery routes in urban areas which are presently problematic.
Commingled services express a finer, more refined detail of MaaS. The trend describes the implicit state in the latter whereby demand-responsive transport is merged with mobility-on-demand services. For example, buses, taxis, shuttles, and micromobile transport can all coexist as a common service, each interacting so as to comprehensively increase the efficiency and flexibility of transport in general. The crux is that commingled services exist in fleets, making management less complex, and so more streamlined because of the inextricable cooperation between vehicles’ hardware in order to improve energy usage rates.
New technologies being developed for mobility means that unprecedented levels of vehicle data are being relayed. It is decisive that big data is handled accordingly, as opposed to being treated traditionally. If unstructured data is collected, processed, and interpreted properly, then this leads to insights that are vital for fleet managers if they are to sustainably optimise operations. This includes monitoring, tracking, and having a database that’s updated & organised in real-time by AI.
Judging by today’s urban mobility standards, the actualisation of the trends listed above is a crucial necessity if we are to sufficiently protect our planet. It is simply a matter of when each of them becomes an extensive societal mainstay. We at MICHELIN Connected Fleet staunchly believe in the vision that is laid out before our industry, and are actively going to great lengths to incorporate instrumental technologies & attitudes within our mission. If you’re interested in taking part in the effort to make fleet management safer, more efficient, and more sustainable, then be sure to make an enquiry today.
Written by The MICHELIN Connected Fleet team
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11 Trends in Urban mobility and How to Make the Most of It
Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a decisive juncture in history, specifically where our modes of mobility are concerned. Each day we edge..