The future of mobility


The future of mobility

Source: FleetAnswers It's been more than almost a month since the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, has come and gone, but there were a number of innovations and products shown that could have a significant impact on the fleet industry, and sooner than you might think. Fleet managers need to be aware of the tech that is coming and the way it could impact their work and their fleets.

Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars continue to be the focus of tech-heavy events like CES. This year, Nvidia spoke about a new computer they are making for cars called the Drive PX2. The goal? To provide the processing power necessary to create a properly designed self-driving car. It also showcased its reference platform, known as Nvidia Drivenet, which is supposed to perceive other objects around it, including detecting other cars on the road in the midst of a snowstorm.

Kia also put a timeline on the debut of the autonomous vehicle. Its "Drive Wise" vehicle is scheduled to arrive by 2020, just four short years away. Drive Wise is not a fully self-driving vehicle, though. It is tech designed to improve driver safety and make navigation easier, even in distracting situations.

What could self-driving cars mean for commercial fleets? These cars could improve safety, if launched well, and they could also free up employees to perform paperwork and other tasks while driving from one location to the next. However, the cost of these vehicles is likely to be prohibitive for a while, but it is coming.

Continued Focus on Efficiency

Another factor that was paramount at CES 2016 was efficiency. According to the concept cars on display, personal transportation is moving away from big, fuel-guzzling vehicles and pointing towards smaller, electric and hybrid vehicles. Chevrolet revealed its new Bolt at the show, which is supposed to be able to drive 200 miles with just one charge.

Toyota took a different take on the efficiency question, with a push towards hydrogen fuel cells instead of electric cars. The FV2 concept which was on display at CES is likely a little too far out for everyday use, but it used the hydrogen fuel cell quite efficiently.

Here we have a change that can be greatly beneficial to commercial fleets. Greater efficiency means lower fuel bills, something almost every fleet manager wants to accomplish.

Driver-Distraction Monitoring System

Distracted driving is a danger to any fleet. A driver who falls asleep at the wheel or drives while distracted can cause devastating side effects for your fleet. Harman has launched a solution, which it showcased at CES. Its in-car monitoring system actually tracks the dilation of a driver's pupils. If the brain becomes overloaded, the pupils respond. When the system notices this, it will adjust and minimize user interfaces in the vehicle, putting mobile communications on do-not-disturb mode at the same time, thus limiting distractions. Any driver-assist components in the car will be sent to "high alert" to assist the driver in driving safely.

Installing these on commercial fleet vehicles has an obvious benefit. Improved safety is always a goal of the modern fleet manager.

With these three innovations, CES showed that consumer electronics definitely extend to the modern fleet. It's possible that fleets will be safer, more efficient and more autonomous in the near future as a result of these changes.