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Innovations in fleet management are often discussed, but many seem just over the horizon rather than tools we can use today. Autonomous trucks, for instance, are at the experimental stage in some regions, but regulation and society are not quite ready for this to become a daily reality for fleets everywhere.
Speaking at HERE Directions, Deepak Patnaik, HERE's Global Head of Product Marketing, Transportation & Logistics said: “Trucking companies worldwide are facing tightening margins and being able to make savings on their fuel on internal operations without significant IT set-up costs is definitely a tempting proposition. At the same time, I also see that the trucking industry needs to be readying itself for autonomous driving."
That's where Traxen fits in. The company's iQ-Cruise tool is an adaptive cruise control system that fully automates the longitudinal speed on the vehicle and assists drivers to reduce fuel consumption.
The company estimates its users can save 10% on fuel costs. That's because fuel efficiency is derived from improved acceleration and speed control under various traffic and environmental conditions. It can also improve safety with its defensive driving style and by sending timely warnings, without overwhelming or bombarding drivers.
The difference with iQ-Cruise, Traxen CEO Ali Maleki explained this week at HERE Directions, is that this technology is available for fleets to take advantage of right now.
“Over the last 10 years, after having recalibrated my expectations of what the adoption of fully driverless solutions may be, I came to the conclusion that there is a lot of ground that we can still cover with all of the advanced technologies that we have developed," he told Deepak.
And he estimates that his solution can bring 80% of the benefits of a fully automated system to fleets today.
Drivers need to see that innovations are working in their favor.
Traxen's iQ-Cruise uses a fusion of location data, truck telematics and AI/machine learning to deliver these advantages to fleets. However, an issue with new technologies inside trucks has been the difficulty in convincing drivers that it can benefit them rather than work against them.
“Drivers get paid by the mile," Ali explained. “So they want to go as fast as they can, they want to drive as many hours as they can. Now, hours of service rules are limiting them. There are electronic logging devices that monitor them, there are cameras in the trucks. It feels like everyday life is kind of closing in on their freedoms."
As a result, many are resistant to yet more changes — unless they can see that these innovations are working for them. Ali said it takes drivers an average of one to two weeks to get to like iQ-Cruise. The tool can help them with blind spots and to see over the horizon. “It truly is a driver assistance system: it's there to help them." And of course, being able to take their feet off the pedal makes for a less tiring experience.
Drivers can use an app that gives them warnings and alerts telling them when they need to take over, but avoids bombarding them with unnecessary messages. iQ-Cruise uses HERE Data to provide its location-based services.
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