Latest developments have the potential to improve road safety, cut congestion and reduce emissions. Gareth Roberts reports
Create a cross-departmental
Government office, similar to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), to coordinate policy
Greater integration with public transport booking and information systems
Provide incentives to boost take-up of car clubs and car sharing
Government support with marketing and promoting mobility services
Procurement advice for buying solutions for the public sector
An audit of grey fleet costs in the public sector
Make the UK the market leader in autonomous cars
Introduce legislation to enable the industry to flourish
Ensure that existing driver requirements and training are maintained
Vehicle data platforms should be open and accessible to allow competition
Introduce a set of common standards and data metrics
Vehicle owner must consent to access to data and its use
Clearer, more transparent guidelines for drivers
The fleet sector is calling for policy-makers to introduce safeguards around the data that will be available from emerging technologies.
Increased connectivity, whether from in-vehicle telematics or smartphone applications, has the potential to transform the industry for the good.
But delegates at the latest Fleet Industry Manifesto meeting, held by Fleet News, BVRLA and ACFO, voiced their concerns about the potential pitfalls around the rules regulating big data.
One fleet delegate said: “People want to know what you’re using the data for, how you’re accessing it, how you’re storing it, who has got access to it and are they using it correctly?”
A leasing delegate added: “There’s a lot of mistrust around the whole issue of how data is being used.”
There was agreement that the vehicle owner must consent to data access and its use, and a common set of standards and data metrics to ensure competition isn’t stifled.
A leasing delegate explained: “We’re very concerned that big data in certain key areas is going to be the exclusive reserve of vehicle manufacturers. They are going to be farming this data from their vehicles and deciding who should have access to it and under what conditions.”
That poses potential problems for the independent aftermarket, which could be squeezed out of the equation if they are not given access to the data.
In addition, delegates heard that the introduction of eCall – the European automated in-vehicle emergency call system due to be implemented by 2017 – could hasten this lack of access for the independent sector.
A delegate said: “It’s forcing the technology on to the vehicles that can not only be used for eCall, but can be used for wider data collecting on the vehicle and the person who is driving the vehicle. That may even be happening without the owner of the vehicle knowing.
“It’s therefore very important that there are some open standards and those open standards are fostered through legislation.”
It was also decided that there should be clearer guidelines for drivers, ensuring a transparent process that will enable fleets to obtain driver buy-in.
A fleet delegate explained: “If a driver is working, the employer has every right to know what the individual is doing. The lines start to become blurred when it goes into private use versus business use, if you’re commuting to and from work or driving at the weekend.”
The issues around big data were a key part of the third Fleet Industry Manifesto meeting, which focused on intelligent mobility.
Further debates are planned around subject areas such as road safety. Once completed, the debates will provide a series of manifesto requests which will be put to the three main political parties.
Intelligent mobility refers to any optimised form of transporting people and goods that increases mobility, improves safety and benefits the users, while simultaneously reducing pollution, consumption and congestion.
Connected vehicles, driverless cars, big data and smart motorways are just some of the intelligent mobility technologies that are beginning to have a major impact on the road transport sector.
Mobility services are gaining traction within the leasing industry, where providers are adapting their vehicle-centric product offering to provide a more complete mobility solution.
However, delegates suggested that more needs to be done to enable corporate end-users to seamlessly make a journey using different transport modes.
A fleet delegate said: “What you want people to be able to do is to travel on any of those forms of transport simply and what you need is some kind of standardised platform that allows all of those companies to use the same technology.”
Delegates heard that good public transport alternatives were key to helping fleets take a more holistic approach, but similarly an Oyster-style card, which could be used with a range of providers, could encourage behavioural change.
A leasing delegate explained: “There’s this wonderful symbiotic relationship between public transport and car sharing. But you can’t commit to being a car club member unless the quality of public transport is so good that you know that it is going to serve you well 95% of the time and you can’t commit to being a good public transport user unless you know you have easy access to a car on those rare occasions that you need one.”
Delegates agreed that greater integration and incentives of different transport modes were needed, as well as better marketing of different transport options.
There should also be improved procurement advice for buying mobility solutions for the public sector, which could include an audit of grey fleet costs to help drive change.
Meanwhile, delegates were told that driverless cars, which are a feature of intelligent mobility, are only a matter of years away. There was consensus that the technology should be welcomed and supported by the fleet sector and discussion around how it could help cut congestion.
Delegates wanted clarity around how the rules of the road would apply and how autonomous technologies could alter the driver’s responsibilities.
The Government is consulting on the testing regime for driverless cars and one fleet delegate suggested: “It’s going to be road safety which ultimately drives the agenda.”
Delegates agreed that any future Government should help make the UK the market leader in autonomous cars and introduce legislation to enable the industry to flourish.
They also wanted normal driver requirements to apply to autonomous cars.
In summing up, there was also agreement that the next Government should establish an Office for Intelligent
Mobility to ensure a coordinated approach to the development of new technologies.
Having recognised the success of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), representatives from the fleet industry want a similar body to drive the intelligent mobility agenda forward.
A leasing delegate said: “OLEV has been very successful in what it has done and it has bridged the gap between departments.
“Something which had an intelligent mobility focus would be a very good parallel.”
- Do you agree with the conclusions of the Fleet Industry Manifesto on intelligent mobility? To have your say, email the editor-in-chief of Fleet News at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Our thanks to Arup for hosting the latest Fleet Industry Manifesto discussion at its offices in London.