Adam Seifert, ARI: Trending Towards Tomorrow’s Trucks

Adam Seifert, ARI: Trending Towards Tomorrow’s Trucks
Drivers are still necessary for regional deliveries.

Improving fleet business and last mile delivery logistics begins with “ACES.”

The automotive landscape is changing a little every day. New vehicle technologies are providing a better driving experience and can transform a fleet business overnight. And the change begins with ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Share vehicles).

“Finding the no driver solution is really far off, but some systems that make the driver safer are already entering the space, and it’s something that drivers are going to start to expect,” says Adam Seifert, Supervisor, Business Intelligence & Analytics, ARI.

A is for autonomous

Autonomous vehicles evolve in four steps. The first three are already available in most retail vehicles today:

  • No feet—adaptive cruise control features in cars.
  • No hands—lane departure warning and assistance systems.
  • No eyes—an automatic emergency braking system.

The last step is harder to accomplish. As the name suggests, autonomous vehicles imply that the car drives itself, but Seifert believes that drivers are still important. “There might be an opportunity for an autonomous vehicle maybe on over-the-road trucking where there are long stretches of highway and you don’t have anyone trying to cross the road, or any pedestrians,” he explains. “But in the majority of delivery spaces, especially in the last mile delivery space, that’s exactly the opposite of where you would want an autonomous vehicle. That is where you really need the capabilities of a regional driver.”

Connected and electrified

Seifert stresses the importance of telematics for today’s fleets. “I like to think that managing a fleet today without telematics is like trying to do astronomy without a telescope,” he says, adding that telematics gives fleets a large amount of visibility into other trends and opportunities that could improve business.

Moreover, with the inclusion of electric vehicles, Seifert points to Deloitte research, which predicts that by 2022, the total cost of ownership will match that of traditional internal combustion engines, and that delivery and Class 8 trucks could have an EV future.

Remember: sharing is important

Lastly, Seifert says that shared vehicles focus on the correct utilization of fleet assets. Fleets don’t want to have assets that are only operational 20% of the time.

“If we know we have certain routes, certain areas for these products, is there a way to get these products to those locations by maximizing a) the space that’s actually in a vehicle—let’s not put a half-empty vehicle on the road—and b) the hours in a day?” explains Seifert. “The demands of the market are going to drive the opportunities for efficiency on the supplier side.”

The result is that maintenance and fuel costs may increase. However, as business improves, so does a fleet’s ability to leverage relationships and gain regional knowledge through improving customer experience, connectivity, and finding custom solutions for their businesses. For instance, companies can distribute their inventory through decentralized distribution centres and fulfillment centres and use fleet vehicles to get the product to the customer faster.

“What’s going to work for these companies is to mix the tried-and-true with some of the opportunities to change and innovate. A lot of these companies—and the ones that I think will end up winning on a global scale—are the ones that are charging towards this future, which is five to 15 years away, and are not just looking to manage the expectations of the next three to six months,” Seifert concludes.

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