Bullish predictions for fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) are gaining ground as vehicle manufacturers compete with IT giants like Apple and Google to pour billions into perfecting self-driving vehicles. ReThinkX, a US think tank, now believes 90% of drivers will abandon car ownership by 2030.
Some of today’s high-end passenger cars already contain as many as 100 million lines of computer code – twice as many as the Large Hadron Collider and eight times more than in the flight system of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – even without the addition of self-driving technology.
Two of the world’s biggest consultancies, KPMG and PwC, have recently issued reports predicting radical changes in mobility by 2030. In their analysis, the primary catalyst for change will not be a yet-to-be-perfected type of artificial automotive intelligence but the ongoing explosive growth in the availability of ‘mobility data’.
84% of executives who spoke to KPMG agreed that “data is the fuel for the future [mobility] business model”. Business vehicles will increasingly involve ‘drivership’, via carsharing, flexi-rental and mini-lease, in place of vehicle ownership. Drivership itself is likely to be one of several options within an employee’s tailored business mobility budget, which will seamlessly cover all the transport services they need.
Driving this transition is the industry’s ability to make better use of data. This is enabling companies to make more-productive and sustainable both vehicles and mobile workers.
The trend is already evident in fleet management, where telematics, ‘connected’ vehicles, mobile payments and the ubiquity of smart phones are driving exponential growth in the availability of information. If processed correctly, such data gives companies huge potential visibility over their Total Cost of Mobility (TCM) and carbon footprint.
KPMG’s 2017 Global Automotive Executive Survey report summed-up the next 5-10 years with the phrase, “Miles are gold. Data is gold.”
Astonishingly-detailed information is already available. A typical business journey used to leave almost no traces on the record aside from some receipts and a line on an expense claim. Now, information is captured at every point in the business travel chain – by leasing companies, fuel card and telematics providers, accident management providers and in payroll data and expenses systems.
By giving companies this information overlaid on to employee data – such as whether individuals are home or office-based, or the details and reasons for journeys – data specialists such as TMC can provide a single view of costs and a 360° view of each employee’s business travel patterns.
This knowledge, in tandem with deployment of more ultra low emission vehicles, will be a key to lower costs and carbon in the years running up to the day when the promised AV revolution arrives.
Already, if you have consolidated information it can be analysed to make mobility recommendations for each individual employed. These might be around who should or shouldn’t be eligible for a company car; who could be in electric vehicles; who could be car sharing, and where it could be more cost-effective to give someone a transportation allowance rather than a conventional car or cash allowance (if for example, they use the train for more than 80% of all trips). TMC’s Mobility+ service does exactly that. We take feeds from all your fleet suppliers, consolidate the data and produce actionable management information. Bringing all this data together into a single dashboard gives you complete visibility over your business mobility and allows strategic fleet managers to truly understand their mobility costs and provide outputs to reduce costs, improve policy and reduce carbon.
Consolidated mobility data opens up many options for cost reductions. Real-time audit controls, together with increased visibility, reduce losses from over-claiming, wasteful travel and non-compliance with policy restrictions. Real-time information can also help identify subtle cost-drivers such as creeping increases in lease rentals and maintenance charges. It can reveal where employees are filling their vehicles unnecessarily with premium fuels or at expensive sites on the motorway network.
Further cost savings can be realised through reduced administration overheads and by using the information to steer fleet and mobility strategy and optimisation. The consolidated data can also show were ULEVs can be deployed.
Today’s challenge for strategic fleet managers is to truly understand their business’s mobility costs and compile actionable management information to identify further cost savings, improve policy and reduce carbon. Without knowing all the costs associated with business travel, reviewing the vehicles being driven and collating all the business trips, how can a sustainable strategy be set?
Data collation is evolutionary rather than revolution but it is an essential base in order to set a strategy on mobility.