Understanding new features

Published in the February 2019 issue of Fleet Affiliation

Technology continues to evolve, making vehicles safer and more efficient. Some creature comforts we consider standard equipment were once state of the art. Approximately 70 years ago, the invention of what would become the modern cruise control was in development. Today, this technology has practically become standard equipment that we have come to rely on. As we continue to evolve, it is important to understand what features are available and those that are in the process of becoming reality. As a fleet manager, it is important to be aware of changing market offerings.

Vehicle-to -vehicle communication
Vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) allows vehicles to communicate with each other and share information such as speed and positioning. The goal is for seamless communication to reduce crashes, and create databases that can be analyzed to mitigate traffic congestion. When will this be possible? This new technology implementation will take some time. Currently, there are several manufacturers using V2V communication. As more vehicles equipped with V2V communications enter the market, the technology will be more effective. The current process slowdown is due to a lack of vehicles on the road capable of communicating with each other.

Using technology to reduce collisions
Often, human error is a large contributing factor to crash incidents. Technology, e.g., cruise control and anti-lock brakes, continue to reduce severity and frequency. These technologies and others will be expanded to the vocational market, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights and forward-collision warning. They are designed to warn drivers, and in some cases, automatically control some vehicle parts, such as automatic emergency braking. Technology designed to continually scan vehicle surroundings is typically camera- or radar-based. It audibly warns a driver of an impending situation or takes emergency action and applies brakes. Often, a driver’s reaction time is not sufficient to avoid a crash. These technologies can act faster than humans, either to avoid a crash or reduce the severity.

Learning more
Technology is continually emerging, and as a fleet manager, it is imperative to stay informed about the latest safety and technology advances to allow you to maintain a state-of-the-art fleet. Additionally, if these technologies are implemented within your fleet, it’s important to educate operators. Sometimes technology is not intuitive, and operators can take action that can be counter-productive to the technology intent. For example, prior to antilock brakes, operators were trained to pump the brake pedal to maintain as much control as possible during a slide or skid condition. With the addition of antilock brakes, the practice of pumping a brake pedal on a vehicle equipped with antilock brakes negated the safety feature and actually created a more hazardous situation.

Related topics and first-hand exposure will be available at The Work Truck Show® 2019, scheduled Tuesday, March 5 through Friday, March 8, 2019 at Indiana Convention Center (Indianapolis, Indiana). Educational sessions, Fleet Technical Congress, Green Truck Summit, and Manufacturer and Distributor Innovation Conference begin March 5, and the exhibit hall is open March 6–8.

Experience the sessions, events and opportunities for fleets at WTS19. Each year, offerings are customized based on feedback and insights from previous Work Truck Show attendees and industry trends. Additional meetings directly correlated to the fleet space provide networking opportunities experts and peers.

If you would like to discuss this, or other fleet issues with NTEA, contact Chris Lyon, NTEA director of fleet relations (info@ntea.com.)