How can IoT transform Fleet Management System?
IoT is a network of real-world objects embedded with sensors, software or other technologies accessed via the internet using applications. The things are interconnected through wireless links (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.). IoT influences various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, retail and others. Fleet management is another area that has adopted and implemented IoT technology to improve the system’s efficiency.
Fleet management manages commercial motors, including trucks, cars, forklifts or other vehicles working for a business.
The IoT technology has converted the idea of connected vehicles into reality. IoT promotes machine-to-machine communications and combines telecommunications and informatics to disseminate valuable information to the stakeholders in real-time.
Any organization that engages commercial vehicles to accomplish its functions deals with fleet management. It is the process that is responsible for managing fleet and asset information from acquisition to disposal.
Managing a fleet is a tedious and challenging task—a high level of precision, accuracy, and dedication is required for managing a fleet. With the right IoT solutions, fleet operators can arm themselves with newer capabilities and increase overall operational efficiency.
The article highlights how IoT can revolutionize the fleet management system and benefit fleet operators and owners.
- How is IoT revolutionizing fleet management?
- How does IoT work in a Fleet Management System?
- What are the use cases of IoT-enabled fleet management?
What are the technology stacks used by IoT in fleet management?
How is IoT revolutionizing fleet management?
Driving over the speed limit or idling has harmful effects on the environment. It emits a heavy amount of carbon dioxide into the air. Moreover, it causes excessive wear and tear and involves additional fuel costs. Leveraging IoT technology can easily track drivers’ behavior and get real-time automated alerts, leading to minimizing objectionable behavior.
IoT-fueled applications capture the surroundings and inform cars when to apply brakes or turn off engines. It facilitates driving and helps perform environment-friendly functions like turning off the engine when the vehicle is idle with such precise information.
Enhanced engine performance
The overall fleet efficiency depends highly on vehicle performance. The engine is the most critical part of a vehicle. IoT helps in remote monitoring and analysis of the engine’s essential parameters, diagnostics fault codes and in-vehicle data acquisitions. The integrated fleet management solution also handles field engineer optimization and spare parts management.
Vehicles equipped with sensors can send automated signals and alerts when any part of the car needs maintenance or is close to failure. Iot-based predictive automotive maintenance prevents from sudden breakdown of any car’s component. Moreover, alerts for low battery, periodic engine maintenance, temperature management and other functions help vehicles run safely for a longer duration.
Sensors embedded in various components of vehicles gather data and share it with the cloud platform. The collected data is analyzed using data analytics tools to measure the performance and predict future outcomes.
Automated connected cars
IoT allows fleet operators and managers to automate trip planning and various other processes. For instance, when a vehicle breaks down, the IoT-enabled system sends automated alerts to tow trucks and the nearest service stations. Drivers receive automatic notifications related to weather warnings and recommendations to reroute. IoT brings truly an intelligent innovation for smart cities.
IoT connectivity assists self-driven cars by providing safe and reliable driving features. The communication of connected vehicles are divided into the following categories:
- Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I): Diagnostic data streamed to an auto service center that helps locate and reserve parking spots. The infrastructure generally constitutes traffic signals, toll booths and lane markings. It helps maintain smooth traffic flow and avoid long waiting lines at toll booths or petrol pump stations.
- Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V): V2V connection helps avoid collisions and streamline traffic using high-speed bandwidth in-vehicle network, cameras and radar. It provides data related to vehicles’ speed, dynamics and location.
- Vehicle-to-Pedestrians (V2P): Using mobile applications, people can connect C V2X (Cellular Vehicle to Everything) network. It helps pedestrians to track and locate taxis and monitor the estimated time of arrival for transit. Moreover, it facilitates communication with the pedestrian walking system and changes traffic signals to cross the road.
- Vehicle-to-Network (V2N): It enables connection with weather forecast system and Intelligent transport system that alerts the drivers about the critical weather condition or accidents on the road.
Automated driver assistance in self-driven cars leverages IoT connectivity to the fullest.
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How does IoT work in a Fleet Management system?
A typical IoT fleet management system implements the following steps:
Data Capturing and Filtering
IoT devices collect a massive amount of data and it is essential to investigate what data should be captured based on specific business requirements. Data relevant to fleet management includes:
- driver’s behavior
- vehicle’s speed, idling, location
- fuel, load and temperature monitoring data
The vehicle’s data is captured using GPS and OBD II sensors. While the car is in motion, data from all sensors is periodically sent to the local gateway through a mobile connection.
The captured data is transmitted via the internet to the cloud for storage or other devices to perform further actions. The transmission medium used to transfer the data varies depending on the choice of users. The communication methods include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID system, NFC (Near-Field Communication), GSM, LoRaWAN, etc.
The vast amount of vehicle and transportation data is now analyzed to gain actionable insights into vehicle speeding or idling, adherence to laws by the drivers, driving patterns, etc. The analysis of real-time data can help in quick decisions for instant improvements. Moreover, such insights are highly advantageous for effective management of the overall supply chain.
The final step is to act based on the data generated by the IoT applications. For example, when a sensor sends an alert to reduce the temperature level, the Smart air conditioner automatically takes action and controls the temperature.
In a fleet management system, there are various services integrated to accomplish a specific purpose. The other services include Transport management service, IoT fleet management service and warehouse management cloud service. The following steps represent a basic architecture of integrated services and help to understand the flow between different services of fleet management:
Step 1: The transport management service plans outbound shipments.
Step 2: Transport management service sends information about the shipment to IoT fleet monitoring service and warehouse management cloud service.
Step 3: IoT fleet management service keeps the planned shipments and routes synchronized to perform in-transit shipment monitoring and freight charge reconciliation accurately.
Step 4: Warehouse management cloud service generates internal load for the shipment and IoT fleet monitoring service is notified of the warehouse load.
Step 5: IoT fleet monitoring service creates an appointment for the warehouse management service load based on the shipment’s ETA.
Step 6: The transport management service sends out a truck to load the warehouse facility’s shipment.
Step 7: IoT fleet monitoring service constantly monitors the truck and updates information in warehouse management service for any ETA change due to unexpected events.
Step 8: When the truck enters the geo-fence area, the IoT sensors connected to the vehicle send a notification to the warehouse management service to check dock door availability. If it is available, the truck is checked in at the dock door; if not available, the vehicle is directed to the yard.
What are the use cases of IoT-enabled fleet management?
IoT-enabled telematics support numerous use cases to improve fleet management.
Hi-tech driver management systems enabled with backup cameras and blind-spot assistant alert drivers about the objects blocking the way, people crossing the road or dangerously driven vehicles. Moreover, in-cabin cameras can alert and recommend drivers to stop and take rest when needed. In case of an accident, video data can help in fault detection.
Driver management solutions powered with computer vision can also help to monitor drivers for distraction and drowsiness. Such applications can notify the nearest control operation center of the driver’s condition in real-time.
The in-built sensors of a vehicle can detect when to change the oil, brake pads, battery or rotate tires. Such advanced applications help the crew to address any issue well ahead of time. It also reduces costs by detecting and preventing damaged motors, dead and old batteries, dysfunctional brakes and less tractable tires.
A single predictive maintenance platform can run multiple workloads enabling access to sensors, cameras and other devices. Managers can quickly deploy such applications and reduce service costs by converging workloads. Predictive maintenance leads to improved fuel efficiency and lowers costs.
The data gathered from the fleet is stored in a cloud application. The data is then processed through different analytics and conceptualized into a visual format. Fleet operators can easily access the data to monitor various parameters associated with their vehicles.
Vehicles integrated with IoT and in-built sensors help provide a clear view of the surroundings to detect moving people, objects, and other vehicles. Such systems can also work as a driving coach and alert the driver and prevent accidents.
Asset and cargo management
IoT and telematics play a significant role in supply chain and logistics. The embedded sensors ensure cargo security during transportation by constant temperature control, surveillance and vibration sensors. IoT helps keep a vehicle’s cargo hold at a set temperature and maintains food items, medications, vaccines, and other perishable items stay fresh and consumable.
The cargo surveillance, assessing inside and outside the vehicle, enables operators to ensure what should be on the truck and what order. The monitoring also confirms if any cargo is lost or stolen. The vibration sensors maintain the security of fragile goods and ensure that they won’t break during transportation.
Vehicles related to passengers like buses and other passenger load vehicles integrated with passenger information systems can provide Wi-Fi access to deliver helpful information about routes and other services. IoT-enabled systems can also detect and notify social distancing guidelines that every passenger must follow. The video surveillance system can help to monitor and report face mask usage inside the vehicle. Moreover, the passenger experience is enhanced by integrating a touchless ticketing system in the buses.
Telematics system connects vehicles, passengers, transit stations with comprehensive real-time information. Every car and station is equipped with sensors and communication appliances to provide passengers information and video footage for security staff.
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What are the technology stacks used by IoT in fleet management?
IoT uses specific technology stacks and permits digitalization in Fleet management. Hence it plays a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency of the owners and the managers of different businesses. The time that was earlier invested manually in the processes of logbooks, paperwork piles, switching between the software platforms, etc; took all day long.
IoT in the field of fleet management works on three fundamental technologies as mentioned below:
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. With the help of GPS you can easily access the crucial data and statistics concerning the vehicles in real-time. GPS technology also helps in tracking and managing the vehicles and assets in case of emergency.
OBD stands for On Board Diagnostics. OBD is basically a computer based system , installed inside a vehicle, that closely tracks and regulates the car and its activities.
RFID stands for Radio frequency Identification System. It is an automatic technology and helps machines and computers to look for objects, record metadata, controlling individual target with the help of radio waves. The readers can identify, track and monitor the objects attached with tags globally, automatically, and in real time by connecting RFID reader to the terminal of Internet, if required.
What are the benefits of an IoT-based fleet management system?
IoT in fleet management systems helps improve manageability, savings, visibility of cargo vehicles and passenger loads. The IoT-enabled fleet management system benefits drivers, fleet managers, passengers, insurance companies and other stakeholders.
Through IoT-enabled systems, fleet managers can easily monitor drivers, vehicle and maintenance needs. Managers get more accurate passenger data with IoT-enabled passenger-load vehicles. It also allows easy surveillance and a ticketing system inside the cars.
Maintenance could costs owners millions of dollars every year. Predictive maintenance can help predict fleet maintenance needs and managers can fix or replace parts well before the problem gets too expensive. Improved routine efficiency and cargo utilization management can increase savings manifolds. Moreover, fuel costs and idle time are also reduced when the latest technology-enabled systems optimize routes. Such applications also decrease the risk of accidents and theft, which leads to reduced costs associated with vehicle downtime and repairs.
In-vehicle and outside embedded cameras offer increased visibility inside and around the vehicle. Technology-driven applications keep the driver more aware of cargo conditions during transit.
IoT-enabled telematics provides various benefits for stakeholders beyond traditional fleet management, including cost savings for insurance and better rider experience.
With fewer accidents, insurance companies will have to pay fewer claims. Moreover, insurers can take advantage of telematics data to create more thorough summaries for their underwriters.
Public transportation with touchless ticketing, passenger information, video surveillance and Wi-Fi service improves the overall passenger experience.
IoT-enabled telematics is key to the future enhanced fleet management system. With the adoption of IoT-enabled solutions, fleet managers and other stakeholders feel more confident with the technology-driven solution that moves them forward.
The constantly growing IoT fleet management market depicts its success and popularity worldwide. According to marketsandmarkets, the IoT fleet management market stands at $8.28 billion worth (2021). The key factors driving the growth include real-time monitoring and increased government mandates for fleet safety.
With such increasing demands and popularity, more businesses will attract and integrate it into their projects.
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