Driving
Technology

The future is now

Driving technology

Technology is redefining the shape, size and needs of the business fleet. And as we head towards fully autonomous vehicles, how will next generation technologies transform the role of the fleet manager and business driver?

With Driving Technology, we're sharing insight and the latest updates on today and tomorrow's vehicle technologies. We're also explaining the many benefits they drive including greater safety, enhanced fuel efficiency and clearer vehicle management, while delivering cost saving opportunities.

Overhead view of car

Connected Cars Of The Future

Discover how connected cars in the future will offer a wide variety of business benefits.

Connected Car Connected Car 2
Choose an icon to find out more.

Save journey times

  • Plan more efficient routes by analysing journey times
  • Allows tracking to use the closest vehicle to the organisation's requirement if another vehicle is unexpectedly delayed or off the road
  • Real-time information enables head office to contact drivers to avoid major road incidents and share alternative routes
  • Ensures employees are not exceeding working time directives, regulations or other working policies

More fuel efficient

  • Monitor which fuel stations are being used to ensure cost efficiency
  • Analyse driver behaviour such as leaving engine running and excessive use of air conditioning
  • Assess need for fuel saving technology
  • Build a business case for different fuel technologies

Lower admin costs

  • Accurate system analytics to inform finance systems and budget planning
  • Avoid traffic fines such as parking fines or speeding tickets
  • Vehicles pass statutory checks first time with less downtime
  • Better road tax administration
  • Real time data dashboards replace time-consuming analysis and spreadsheets
  • Trusted and accurate evidence in any disputes

Congestion management

  • Constant monitoring of routes for delays and traffic
  • Directions constantly updated to ensure safest and fastest route
  • Increased fuel efficiency through maintenance of steady driving
  • Roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights and road signs linked to the driver cockpit and to head office
  • Software supports an organisation's continuity and contingency plans

Collision avoidance

  • Ensure drivers are taking rest breaks at correct intervals
  • Monitor dangerous driving habits
  • Alerts and warnings if a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel
  • Data to support safer night time driving

Improved safety

  • Data delivers more targeted driver training courses
  • Software provides data for health & safety audits
  • Provides data to support health & safety and human resources policy changes, ensuring duty of care to employees
  • Allows daily workload to be distributed fairly across the fleet
  • Builds business case for current and future driving technology

Lower emissions

  • Meet carbon footprint targets by monitoring driving behaviours that increase emissions
  • Optimise routes to cut down on travel between sites
  • Accurate emissions data on which to report and base decisions
  • Better servicing and repairs = ‘greener’ vehicles
  • Promote the organisation's Sustainability agenda

Easier servicing

  • Identify recurrent mechanical problems with the fleet
  • Address driving issues that lead to excessive tyre wear
  • Replace parts only when they are due
  • Aids preventative maintenance and servicing
  • System informs when servicing is due, aiding better planning of workshop time and reducing vehicle downtime

Reduce insurance costs

  • Audit of driver behaviour can help reduce insurance premiums
  • Drivers being aware of monitoring leads to safer driving
  • Can monitor that drivers are not exceeding statutory safe limits
  • Track high-value loads to reassure your clients
  • Assist police in finding stolen vehicles
  • Use dashboard cameras to further reduce insurance costs

Platooning ability

  • Base platoon decisions on road conditions and identify platoon partners
  • Future telematics upgrades could divide cost savings between different fleets regardless of position in the convoy
  • Supports future driving technology to respond to the behaviour of the truck in front, such as platoon-based adaptive cruise control
  • Allows for planning of other connected fleet scenarios across the organisation or with other business partners

Better governance

  • Aligns driver paperwork to reality for better financial compliance and auditing
  • Policy breaches by drivers can be highlighted
  • Supports audits to comply with internal and external standards
  • Supports inspections and reports by third party organisations such as HMRC
  • Helps audit toll road and congestion charges

Supports marketing and tenders

  • Protects an organisation's reputation through safer driving
  • Data analysis helps tender bids to be more accurate, more competitive and can increase profit margins
  • Helps an organisation support clients in meeting their own targets and key performance indicators, such as informing customers of delivery or arrival times

7 benefits of telematics

Telematic technology and data interpretation previously associated with Formula One cars is now a key component in vehicle management.

#1

Easier access to accurate management information on which to make informed business decisions and prepare future fleet strategies

#2

Total transparency of business costs and overheads, supporting the production of accurate budget forecasts

#3

Create more relevant and fit for purpose health & safety and HR policies that aid employees working needs, based on monitored driving

#4

Ability to more easily meet statutory requirements such as internal and external audits, working time directive and other working policies

#5

Greater business efficiencies and commercial gains through the identification of cost and time efficiencies that can be passed on to the customer, employees or reinvested into the business

#6

Improved service from the business to clients via shared data such as real-time delivery updates

#7

Streamlined operational processes and reduced administrative burden, delivering greater efficiencies throughout the business

Driving technology glossary

Know the essentials

Technology is revolutionising cars, vans and other commercial vehicles. But do you know your hybrids from your plug-ins, and how an autonomous vehicle differs from a connected car?

Choose an icon to find out more.

Telematics

Devices that monitor a vehicle's whereabouts, speed and diagnostics. The data is typically shared with a central management system over a 3G network.

Used in Formula One for many years, telematics is now growing in popularity among organisations across the business spectrum. It enables organisations to spot inefficient or unsafe driving behaviours across entire fleets, following up with driver training.

Business benefits

  • Reduced fuel costs through identifying inefficient driving practices
  • Additional fuel and time efficiencies through assisted route planning and dynamic routing via GPS tracking
  • Locate stolen vehicles and monitor of out of hours usage via GPS tracking
  • Proof of fault in any accidents or incidents
  • Reduced insurance premiums due to evidence of safe driving

Connected Cars or Device-to-Device (D2D) technologies

A driver or fleet manager enabling this technology would allow the vehicle manufacturers and operators to communicate directly with their car or van. It could allow them to monitor mileage, reliability and component wear rates among other things.

Some of this technology already exists, enabling GPS navigation and music or movie streaming within vehicles, for example. Connectivity is mainly provided through smartphones, but these are likely to be superseded by embedded systems. D2D technology is also an important component of self-driving cars, allowing vehicles to monitor the position of other vehicles on the road and initiate avoidance procedures.

Business benefits

  • Vehicles can be warned of approaching traffic jams and accidents, then automatically plot routes to avoid them
  • Monitoring of component wear rates by manufacturers who can proactively advise if there is a problem with the vehicle
  • Access to file sharing sites and music streaming from the dashboard via embedded devices that turn cars into Wi-Fi hotspots

Autonomous Vehicles

‘Self driving’ vehicles which are now slowly becoming a reality, with several organisations testing the technology and a couple of UK cities identified as trial areas. Current technologies will require additional development before they match or exceed the required safety levels.

Regulatory and legislative guidelines must be developed before fully automated vehicles are allowed onto UK roads, including for the approximate 10-15 years when manually driven and driverless vehicles will share roads.

Many vehicles utilise some automated features – from improved cruise control with lane assist features, through to fully-automated self-parking which does not require manual touching of the brake or accelerator. Even with these technologies, currently the driver must remain ‘in charge’ of the vehicle.

Business benefits

  • The potential to end serious road accidents, or at least significantly lower their frequency
  • More efficient fuel use through optimal drive programming
  • Improved productivity of passengers, who can use the journey time to work, join interactive meetings or even sleep
  • More effective use of vehicles through autonomous car sharing software, which will allow multiple drivers to use the same vehicle throughout the day

Hybrid Cars

Hybrids use more than one means of propulsion; at present combining a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. This can result in better fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions and reduced road and company car tax liability in many cases.

Conventional hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, can be driven by each power source separately, or they can function together. The electric motor is used when driving at low speeds, while both work together to accelerate. Regenerative braking is used to recharge the batteries during coasting or braking.

Business benefits

  • Potential for significant reduction of fuel consumption, especially if used mainly for low-speed city driving
  • More environmentally friendly than standard petrol-driven vehicles, and subject to lower taxation

Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs)

With larger batteries than regular hybrids, PHEVs can drive further on electric power only; sometimes as far as an additional 30 miles. They can be recharged through an electric outlet or at public charging points, and are often considered a good midway choice between conventional hybrids and fully electric vehicles.

The number of PHEVs on UK roads has increased greatly since 2015, and many manufacturers will be releasing additional models onto the market over the coming years.

Business benefits

  • If driven correctly, lower fuel consumption than traditional hybrid cars can be achieved
  • Batteries can be charged from mains electricity rather than from the petrol engine
  • Potential to drive in towns all day without using a single drop of petrol as the electric engine allows up to 30 miles travel on its own
  • Greater flexibility than fully electric cars as petrol engine allows long trips when necessary

Electric Vehicles

Fully electric cars help an organisation reduce its carbon emissions while lessening society's reliance on fossil fuels. The vehicles are powered solely by a battery and electric motor rather than a petrol or diesel engine, and can be charged at users' homes, their place of work or at public charging points.

Traditionally, electric cars have been limited by short driving ranges, long recharging times and a lack of charging outlets on the road. However, these are all changing as both technology and the charge-point infrastructure improves.

By 2022, electric cars are predicted to be cheaper than conventional vehicles as the cost of batteries falls and the growing number of electric models on the market help to increase uptake of the vehicles.

Business benefits

  • Significantly reduced fuel costs and lower taxation
  • Lower maintenance costs than petrol or hybrid cars as engines are relatively simple
  • Possibility of long distance trips as range of some electric cars is now around 250 miles, and rapid charging points at some service stations can provide an 80% charge in half an hour

Dashboard Cameras (Dash cams)

Record vital footage of car accidents or traffic incidents, helping determine who was at fault in any incident. Recent court cases have used video footage as the determining factor in the outcome, outweighing spoken testimony.

Dash cams can also capture damage caused in car parks, nearby suspicious behaviour that could be invaluable to the police, or even potential fraud scenarios where people may actively seek to be in an accident.

Rearward-facing cameras are being increasingly used to ensure and prove drivers are concentrating on their driving and not being distracted by, for example, a mobile phone.

Business benefits

  • Can prove liability in road accidents, backing up a driver's testimony
  • Rearward-facing cameras can monitor driver behaviour and prove, for instance, the driver wasn't distracted just before a crash
  • Discounts on insurance premiums for cars fitted with cameras

Driver Fatigue Warning Systems

Alert a driver via an audio and/or visual alarm if he or she appears to be falling asleep. Drowsiness can be detected by video cameras, steering-pattern monitoring, physiological measurement or vehicle-positioning monitoring.

Some systems learn the user's driving patterns and can detect when they change due to drowsiness. In future, cars may be able to take control and pull over if they sense that the driver is too tired.

Business benefits

  • A dramatic reduction in sleep-related accidents
  • Peace of mind for companies that require drivers to work long hours

Automatic Steering Systems

Becoming commonplace in commercial and consumer vehicles, these technologies use GPS, cameras, radar and/or laser sensors to detect hazards and keep the car on the correct path. Current uses include parking assistance, lane-departure prevention, over or understeer compensation, rollover prevention, crosswind compensation and blind-spot detection – if the car senses a vehicle in the driver's blind spot as he or she changes lanes, it will take over the steering.

These systems are expected to be used more in conventionally operated vehicles over the coming decade.

Business benefits

  • Prevention of accidents as cameras and radar act as another pair of eyes to detect hazards the driver hasn't seen
  • Reduced stress of long-distance driving with lane-departure prevention systems in combination with active cruise control

Head-Up Displays (HUDs)

Project important information at eye level and invaluable for reducing distraction when drivers are on unfamiliar roads. By 2026, the technology could detect potential hazards on the road and highlight them on the windscreen.

Current displays project transparent navigation information on to a windscreen to provide directions, estimated arrival times, speed data and lane-departure warnings. Originally designed for military aviation use, the technology tends to be built into the vehicle. Several manufacturers offer the service in their latest models.

Can be operated through a Bluetooth connection via a smartphone, but caution is advised as they may also show non-key information which could be distracting to the driver.

Business benefits

  • Drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road as navigation information is projected on to the windscreen
  • Valuable for drivers who rely on satellite navigation and often find themselves on unfamiliar roads

Machine learning

Machine learning algorithms allow a vehicle to recognise an object it is encountering and understand how that object acts. This mimics the learning of human drivers, such as interpreting the subtleties of other drivers' hand gestures and indicators to know their intentions.

When another car, a pedestrian, a cyclist or an animal is detected, the algorithm monitors and updates its data from previous experiences to predict that object's next movement.

Business benefits

  • Avoidance of accidents and incidents as visual inputs are interpreted and matched with previous experiences to understand what is happening
  • The more a vehicle is driven, the better it gets at recognising road features
  • Ability to discern between animate and inanimate objects and to take the right course of action

Contact us

Driving Intelligence is a series of insights, expert views and reports on the key issues facing fleet decision makers.

Please get in touch with our team to discuss any of the issues covered - we're here to help you run your vehicles effectively.

Email: fleetconsultancy@lexautolease.co.uk

Driving Intelligence

Whilst every effort has been made by Lex Autolease to ensure that information given is not misleading, this material is provided only as an overview of the subject and is not a substitute for professional advice. No responsibility can be accepted by Lex Autolease for any loss nor liability occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this website page.