Fleets Among the First to Benefit from AI Telematics

AI is being heralded as a game-changer in many aspects of automotive use yet it could have its biggest early impact on fleet management.

That’s the view of Sid Nair, head of product management and UX at Teletrac Navman who sees its introduction as a four-phase evolution starting from the baseline of telematics. Nair explained: “This is the evolution of telematics where, today, you have all the data you could possibly and probably more than you can chew. So, the next phase for telematics is intelligence where you can do something meaningful with that data in reporting telematics.”

AI will elevate the intelligence factors to be derived from telematics data to a new level, according to Nair. He said: “The third and the fourth phases are where it gets really interesting for AI in telematics. I call that cognition and automation. Cognition is nothing more than the reality of understanding what that data and intelligence really means such as contextual awareness, putting AI to really work for you rather than the other way round and it being able to dissect the data coming out of it.”

He pointed to the huge amount of data being generated by the modern connected vehicle as it waits to realize its full potential in the IoT. Nair said: “If you think about the tons of data you can get from a vehicle every day and try to put a team behind it from a human operations perspective, you would end up with an army of people looking at every aspect. From engine data to driver data to location data to fuel data – it’s too complicated.”

Less complication

AI will make things much less complicated for the fleet manager. Nair explained: “Contextual awareness on the AI platform brings about a real understanding of that data in context and this really makes a difference to you as a fleet manager. I say AI tells you what you don’t know. In the past, telematics told you what you already knew or sort of knew. AI will start surfacing because of the level or proliferation of the data you have it will start showing you the real insight and why something is happening rather than just what is happening. Now that you know why something is happening, you can start thinking about taking action leading to automation. Automation in general can only really happen when you have true contextual awareness of what the data is.”

While Nair said it is too early to be able to give general potential savings costs for adopting AI technology, he said it is easy to see where daily operating efficiencies can be realized. He said: “What you will see is an error-proofing of your fleet so that when you are know that something is wrong or that you were going to send a dispatch to a particular vehicle that did not have enough driver available hours, catching those things early is going to be one big saving.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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