Fleet News

Acfo annual general meeting: Be prepared for telemetry

IN-VEHICLE telemetry – black boxes that record vehicle data and send it to a computer – will affect all fleet managers within five years.

Damian James, head of transport provision at Bracknell Forest Borough Council, told the Acfo conference that a system that sends data to the emergency services in the event of an incident is likely to be fitted to all new cars by 2009.

Trials in Finland between 2001 and 2003 indicated that 5% of fatalities could have been prevented by the system, known as E-Call.

But E-Call is just one of many types of telemetry being developed and James urged fleet managers to prepare themselves.

‘It’s easy to be blinded by science,’ he said. ‘Some of the suppliers of these systems don’t have much fleet experience, so it’s far more useful to speak to customers already running these systems to find out if they are beneficial.’

James presented a list of questions and points to consider when introducing telemetry.

  • How reliable is the system?
  • How long does each installation take?
  • Does the system offer remote upgrade and fixes?
  • Is the installation team smart and professional?
  • How will you present it to your drivers? Be sensitive, open, honest and clear.
  • Can you handle the data? For example, 21 downloads per vehicle per day.
  • Lease or purchase? The technology could be obsolete in three years.

    James went on to describe the many benefits of telematics, including reduced costs and improved safety and productivity. He also sent out a plea to developers. ‘With all these different systems emerging, can we have it all built into just one black box?’

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