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Transport technology trends to watch in 2017

The technology revolution now seems so unstoppable that it is almost commonplace to expect the unexpected. 2017 will see some of the most innovative evolutions that will redefine everything from banking to business, from shopping habits to travel and transport.

What once seemed like the script for a fantasy sci-fi film may well become a reality very soon.

And many of these transport technology innovations could soon have an impact on business fleets, where connected applications are already well established.


Next generation transport speeds up


Even if nobody has travelled in one, it seems everyone is familiar with driverless cars.

But how would you feel about getting on board a self-driving bus? Or how about travelling from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes in a levitating pod? Or literally jetting from New York to London in 3 hours 15 minutes on a supersonic jet?

These incredible journeys could be a reality sooner than you think. Travelling from Brno in the Czech Republic to Slovakian capital Bratislava currently takes 90 minutes – this could soon take a mere 10 minutes thanks to a new, high-speed travel route that is currently in the design stage. Or imagine the unimaginable; travelling at the speed of sound in a tube-enclosed train in South Korea.1

It seems that in our fast paced world, saving time really is of the essence and that is particularly true for business. It will be interesting to see how soon many of these developments filter through to the fleet.

Already, telematics technology helps business drivers to save time through smart navigation, routing and scheduling. Modern systems can take account of up-to-date traffic information, historic journey data and job information to help optimise schedules, and enable fleet managers to send mobile workers to the most appropriate job at the most appropriate time so the impact of traffic is minimised as much as possible.


Personalised driving


It’s now commonplace for us to personalise computers, mobile devices and other electronic equipment using preferences stored in the cloud. But in 2017 you should expect to be doing the same with your car.

Experts predict that an increasing number of vehicles will go on sale with customisable dashboards that can be configured to the profile of the driver. People who share a car won’t have to share driving preferences anymore – the individuals’ key fob will determine which apps to activate and update.2

Driver ID is already common among business fleets. For example, the award-winning TomTom PRO 2020 driver terminal allows mobile workers to identify themselves at the start of each journey by touching a tag to the RFID/NFC reader. Mileage, working time and driving performance details can then be attributed to the relevant individual when logged in the back office.*


Getting millennials motoring


This demographic is a new breed indeed. They take longer to settle down, buy houses and commit to high value purchases such as cars. Brands are therefore futureproofing their share of this market by finding new ways to tap into the ways millennials live their lives.

One-way car sharing, monthly car subscriptions and renting cars on demand will become much more popular in 2017. Companies offering these flexible motoring options allow people to get from A to B without having to worry about getting back to A. They simply drop off and get on with their day. No maintenance, no car washing, no repairs, no hassle.3

For example, a scheme operated by Bee-Green Mobility in Rome, Naples and Milan allows users to rent electric quadricycles for one-way journeys. Users simply search for nearby vehicles, swipe an ID card to access the vehicle and then leave it at a convenient drop-off point at the end of their journey. Trip details are then logged and the user is automatically billed according to usage.


Smart devices will smarten up our act


Smart phones have taken on the task of organising almost every aspect of our lives for around a decade. We’d be lost and directionless without them. Soon we’ll be able to say the same about our home appliances and entertainment, wiring and lighting which are set to play a more proactive role in our daily lives. In 2017, thanks to IOT devices, it could become the norm, not the privilege of the rich to turn on our lights and air conditioning 20 minutes before we reach home while instructing the cooker to start warming up the beef bourguignon.

Meanwhile, our automated personal assistants will manage our emails, diaries and to-do lists. More and more it will also keep us informed about news, weather and retail prices based on our predetermined location and interests. One day it will know us better than we know ourselves.5

Similar opportunities are available in fleet management. The development of open platform software and hardware in telematics means developers can create a huge range of apps designed to help make life easier for managers and workers. Mobile apps have already been developed that allow workers to complete a wide range of tasks on a single device, include vehicle checks, navigation, workflow management and proof of delivery.

If none of the above innovations are enough to spark excitement, the cost of space travel is set to plummet from billions of dollars to mere millions in 2017. So get booking.

Or, if you can’t afford that exclusive form of transport, treat yourself to a self-driving, electric, shared car. It’s your future.

*The PRO 2020 works in conjunction with the TomTom LINK 510 and LINK 105 to deliver this functionality.

Beverley Wise
As Webfleet Regional Director UKI for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, Beverley Wise has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, primarily within the leasing sector. She firmly believes that being a decisive leader is key to delivering great success. She likes to innovate with her mantra of "Ask for forgiveness, not permission," helping to move businesses forward. She has a strong work ethic and strives to be the best she can be, which she likes to instil into teams she manages, being fair but firm with a high degree of empathy. Beverley has been with Webfleet overseeing UKI sales for six years, where she has seen several changes. She is passionate about the future of the automotive industry, believing that the transition to electric or alternative-fuelled vehicles is a real game changer.

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