As well as knowing exact locations, data available would include everything from mileage, fuel level, tyre pressures and other maintenance alerts. It could even show which of the windows hadn’t been closed properly, or whether the vehicle has been left unlocked.
The information would be updated constantly in the car and stored in the CANbus or a hard drive. It could be accessed anytime by the fleet manager who would activate an app on his smartphone or tablet computer.
Connecting to an individual code would be done by unique vehicle identifier, eg, VIN or registration, via the 3G network. Ultimately a satellite-based system would be developed.
The prospect of the advanced technology has been revealed by automotive component firm Delphi. It came during an announcement on new hardware to allow drivers to access data on their own car remotely via their next-generation smartphones. That’s expected to available by 2013.
Lindsey Williams, Delphi’s corporate communications director, explained: “Our technology could apply to everyone who manages fleets, from two to 2,000 to 200,000 vehicles. We have been in discussions with a major US rental company about this already.”
The smartphone would require a fleet management app to be installed. Delphi experts also believe an additional server might be required to collect the data before ‘pushing’ a status report to the fleet manager’s phone when it’s asked for.
Delphi said the system, which still needs some development, wouldn’t require a monthly subscription but could not confirm a price yet.