According to a study by Berg Insight, which specialises in fleet management research, 4.4 million vehicles across Europe are already fitted with telematics in the last quarter of 2015. With that figure increasing at a compound annual growth rate of just over 15%, Berg Insight predicts it could hit 8.9 million by 2019.
So what is telematics, and how does it benefit fleet management and the millions of individual connected/smart car owners?
Telematics is any device that merges telecommunications and informatics to monitor a vehicle. A crash-resistant black box with a GPS receiver and an electronic GSM device is installed in each vehicle, which then communicates with user and web-based software.
These systems can locate exactly where a car is and how fast it's traveling, summon roadside assistance, lock and unlock remotely, and much more. Telematics integrates GPS location and vehicle diagnostics data into software applications like dispatching, fleet management, service reminders and asset management. In doing so, fleet managers can streamline data gathering and gain quicker insights that assist their decision-making in real time.
Telematics systems traditionally allow drivers to access services while they're in the car. However, the rise of smart cars with in-car technology and smartphone apps for telematics is prompting vast improvements in these systems, allowing owners to remotely control their car while they are away.
These features include locking and unlocking the car's doors without having to call an operator, remotely starting the vehicle and locating it in a crowded parking lot by way of a lights-flash and horn-sound.
Remote Controlled Cars
With millions of individual cars loaded with infotainment systems such as Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto, telematics allows owners to control their cars remotely and keep watch over the behaviour of drivers. It would be a great relief for parents, for example, to be able to monitor and control their kids' driving habits.
Now, manufacturers are working with mobile app developers to link telematics systems to smartphone apps, giving owners remote control over some aspects of their vehicles. These apps will record data about an individual's driving style, including a driver's level of aggression, smoothness, anticipation and consistency, which is qualified by information about road types, and driving conditions such as heavy rain and congestions.
Parents can remotely monitor the driving practices of their children, such as speeding, hard braking and rapid acceleration. They can alert and even control them by setting the speed limits remotely, as well as reaching out with assistance in case of emergencies. Soon, they will even be able to drive them back home safely in the event of an accident using a mobile app, with the help of app developers, in-car technology and telematics.
Smart cars integrated with telematics systems may even make travel easier for seniors using mobile technology. The family may come to their rescue with remote assistance in case of medical emergencies.
Over the past few years, smart cars have significantly improved the performance of telematics, to make fleet management easier for car owners. By giving millions of drivers remote access to their cars, they are replacing physical operators with virtual and digital assistants.