Artificial intelligence is already transforming the way that fleets are operated, and also has the potential to revolutionize the way that fleets are serviced.
By Leo Sigal
Passenger-carrying automobiles debuted in 1908 with the introduction of the Ford Model T. As the height of mobile-technology at the time, the Model T still remains one of the most successful cars in history.
In the early 1900’s, automobiles were passenger-focused and didn’t have much room for transporting anything else. But it wouldn’t be long before autos would take on new roles in servicing the transportation of goods.
Automotive technology has come a long way In the last 110 years, but many fundamental aspects have remained constant. Automobiles are a complex system of machinery and engineering. As operational components break down, the need for auto repair arises. When Ford introduced standard interchangeable parts, the auto-service industry was established.
Auto-rental fleets emerged as early as 1918 but began to gain mass adoption by the 1930’s and 1940’s. As these businesses grew and scaled, so did the need to service these fleets to keep them operational and on the road.
Fast forward to 2018 – Fleet operations and fleet management is big business. Today’s market includes many relatively new companies where a number of vehicles are operating together or under the same ownership. Companies such as Lyft and Uber are paving the way for the ride-sharing category. Ford’s Chariot and Sacramento California’s SmaRT Ride are driving the on-demand micro-transit category. And of course, the new wave of light fleet vehicles including Amazon Delivery and the Delivery Guys trucks are the latest influx of last-mile providers. In terms of growth, the fleet management market size is projected to be upwards of $34 billion globally by 2022.
As the auto and fleet category evolves through the shared economy, more vehicles are used for business-related purposes. Keeping those cars operational and on the road is becoming ever more critical. Although the technological advancements in fleet management have improved, fleet maintenance systems are often stuck in the past. With the introduction of AI and predictive analytics designed to proactively diagnose potential issues, most of the automotive industry has gone digital while fleet maintenance is still typically a paper-based system. With the fleet industry growing at such a rate, an AI-driven solution is a vast improvement in maintenance efficiency and is crucial to keeping the vehicles operational and getting them back on the road quicker and for longer.
A few AI-driven platforms have emerged to tackle this issue head-on. Advanced AI-powered inspection and maintenance platforms are paving the way by revolutionizing the paper-based systems and updating them to digitized systems. No longer will fleet operators and managers need to rely on a piece of paper that is limited in the amount of information it can contain, and subject to misinterpretations. Paper-based reporting typically only covers what the driver might notice during their period of operation, leaving any nascent or on the side of the road. Vehicle operators also have no way of knowing what might happen to each specific vehicle down the road. With AI platforms, needs can be anticipated and preventative maintenance can be addressed, providing fleet managers and operators with less wasted time having autos being serviced and not generating revenue.
The dynamics of the fleet management business include human safety issues and real costs related to deferred maintenance, repairs, and out-of-service vehicles. As the fleet industry continues to grow, innovative AI-powered platforms will be all the more essential to keep businesses running.
“Given our current rate of growth, we expect to double our business in the coming quarter, and every time our business grows, the overhead of maintaining our fleet goes up exponentially,” said Armen Gasanyan, CEO, Delivery Guys. “Since implementing Driveroo, our delivery vehicles are more likely to be safe, ready, and available, resulting in fewer missed routes and happier drivers. Our drivers are also spending less time on pre-trip and post-trip inspections. Driveroo will help us to scale by allowing our entire team to focus on our core business — delivering packages.”
Today’s technological advances in the fleet management category represent a business opportunity to accelerate efficiencies in fleet management delivering a higher rate of business performance.
About the Author:
Leo Sigal is a successful technologist with almost two decades of experience building innovative technology products.. He currently serves as Founder and CEO of Driveroo, the 1st proactive auto care service platform to provide predictive analysis of potential maintenance issues for each vehicle. Driveroo uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to examine millions of data points to determine the likelihood of specific maintenance issues, based on the type of car and its specific history. Prior to Driveroo, Leo served as CTO for Model N and Selectica, and held senior engineering and technology positions at Software AG and eVite. He is committed to advancing the thought leadership around utilizing AI and machine learning to improve safety and convenience and believes that the auto industry is on the verge of a seismic change.