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  • 30 March, 2018

Big Data to make car fleets safer, more efficient and more eco-friendly

The concept of connected cars is already here! A few years ago the idea seemed almost impossible yet now it is entering the market in full force. New vehicles are being equipped with systems that connect a car to the driver’s smartphone, which then becomes a black box for driving habits based on large amount of data generated by sensors.

Against this backdrop, the automotive sector faces a strong change: embracing the era of connected cars. In this respect the automotive industry is experiencing a great technological revolution. All cars will incorporate connectivity-based technology that will encourage more efficient and safer driving.

This enables connected car systems to collect different types of vehicle data such as speed, rpm, fuel level, mileage or driving style, and predict possible breakdowns or optimise maintenance. A connected vehicle can send data in real time to vehicle manufacturers, allowing them to better respond to any maintenance or traffic incident.

Connected vehicles can produce about 5 terabytes of data in a single hour from numerous sensors, along with automatic generation and registration of different conditions and parameters. Examples include speed, GPS position, tracking status, vehicle status and component status, driver and passenger status, temperature, humidity, brightness, pressure, acceleration and equipment error codes.

Using Big Data from cars and improving the way vehicles operate can prevent accidents and optimise performance of vehicles already connected to our smartphones or tablets.

All this information is gathered through on-board diagnostics (OBD) dongle devices installed in cars. It is then analysed and processed in a big data platform using algorithms developed to offer a decision support system. This furthers preventive maintenance of a fleet, monitors and promotes ecologically efficient driving, and even identifies traffic jams.

Eco-friendly driving greatly influences fuel consumption. If driving is not ecologically efficient, a decision aid system suggests specific actions to the driver so that he or she can address the increase in fuel consumption.

In addition to generating eco-efficiency indicators that guide drivers, the electronic control units exploit error codes and driver feedback for preventive maintenance.

Predicting faults, allowing the fleet manager to carry out preventive maintenance and detecting possible failures before they occur will decrease operating costs and vehicle downtime.

The sooner a problem can be detected and solved, the shorter the downtime within a fleet. Maintenance costs less than downtime, especially since repairs, maintenance personnel time, automobile replacement, and commercial repercussions such as late deliveries can mean much higher costs.

Managing a fleet of vehicles represents a key activity for many businesses which must ensure uninterrupted business. It is therefore crucial for these businesses to manage their fleet efficiently.
Overall, the benefits of the breakthrough concept of connected vehicles in the automobile sector are numerous:

  • Greater safety of the driver and passengers and cargo through better driving habits and better control of the maintenance of each vehicle.
  • Improved productivity by controlling operation, optimising route planning, locating the position of vehicles in real time, controlling downtime and addressing possible fatigue situations.
  • Prediction of future breakdowns or wear of components through improved maintenance planning, as well as the detection of fraudulent use (e.g. cyber attacks, tricking the odometer, misuse of components).

Ultimately, connected cars will provide more intelligent mobility solutions for users, improving the overall driving experience, promoting road efficiency, and making daily life easier. In the realm of business, particularly in delivery, transport and logistics companies, connected cars systems, will provide operators with key real-time data on key fleet management metrics, including vehicle maintenance requirements or CO2 emissions. This is the future of mobility!

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