The effect of ADAS & automation on fleet management

Change is coming to the world of transportation as we move closer to truly connected fleets. Advanced safety features leading to full autonomy will make today's truck drivers and the roads they travel safer as the industry slowly gravitates toward driverless trucks.

 

ADAS and autonomy now and future

When it comes to ADAS, Ian Riches of Strategy Analytics says that we're in an era of democratisation of existing features: technologies such as traffic-jam assistance, adaptive cruise control and fully autonomous parking trickling down from the ultra-high end to becoming available and even standard on mainstream vehicles.

Even advanced emergency braking, already mandated in Europe, will slowly work its way into production vehicles in the United States, Riches thinks. He points to the commitment by 20 US automakers to making automatic emergency braking a standard feature on all new cars no later than 2022. "The system has to be given a chance to work first," he says.

It's very difficult to quantify or predict the effect advanced driver safety systems will have on safety or the economics of transportation, according to David J. Smith, senior development engineer driver, assistance systems, at Daimler Trucks North America. In the first place, such systems are not that common in trucks yet. Besides that, the true impact of ADAS in passenger cars is far from clear.

Besides the fact that vehicle sales numbers don't include which features were included in vehicles, driver behaviour plays a role. While intelligent headlights that automatically illuminate curves have been quite effective, Smith notes: "The results on lane-departure warning systems, which you'd intuitively feel would increase safety, have been neutral. Drivers are not necessarily aware of what to do with the warnings."

Active or semi active systems that are able to take some control or intervention will have the biggest impact, he thinks. As driver assistance and active-safety features continue to evolve, he says: "Data is going to be key. The focus on driver safety and improving efficiency through these systems is the selling line for customers."

In terms of connected services, Richard Wallace, director of transportation systems analysis at the Centre for Automotive Research, foresees the rollout of smart parking systems that can help drivers find rest stops. For example, such a system could send an alert that the driver is approaching the end of his hours of service, and that in 40 miles, there's a truck stop with a vacant slot.

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