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Road to Ace

How Will Intelligent Vehicles Make a Difference to the Next Generation of Commercial Vehicles?

Daniel Majewski, Head of Marketing and Business Development, WABCO EMEA

The last five years have seen our industry make significant advances on its journey toward Autonomous, Connected and Electric (ACE) commercial vehicles (CV).  This, in my view, is set to accelerate in Europe as we establish the eco-systems to realize the promise of “intelligence” that permeates through the Commercial Vehicle value chain.   

It's no surprise that the much anticipated benefits of ACE – efficiency, safety, and operational savings to name a few; are such a priority to the European logistics industry with 70% of transport conducted over its roads.  Based on various studies, an estimated  250 billion Euros per year in potential savings can be reached through eradicating operational inefficiencies.  New regulations, new technologies, and greater investments coming from both the Fleet and OEM players are also presenting opportunities to help save money, improve safety and increase overall efficiency.

However, in dialogue with customers, partners and suppliers in the industry, I’m struck by how we use the term “intelligent” vehicles in many different and confusing ways.  Perhaps we can think about these by focusing on the true benefits to each player in the CV value chain.

I like to think about vehicle intelligence in four layers:

1. Intra-Vehicle intelligence: Here the vehicle (including the trailers), equipped with sensors, collects and processes data from its own performance, as well as data collected from external smart infrastructure, such as road conditions, traffic signals and highways to assist drivers in making informed choices to optimize their own safety and efficiency. 

2. Inter-Vehicle intelligence: Vehicles equipped with intelligent pairing are able to give real time information to each other on road conditions to optimize fuel efficiency and traffic flow.

3. Intra-Fleet company intelligence: This involves understanding the ability to improve the management of fleets, such as enabling a logistics manager to get real time ETA's of vehicles to help with yard planning or arranging maintenance remotely.  Imagine if a fleet manager could better monitor trailer, vehicle and cargo health, supported by predictive maintenance and a globally connected network of parts and services.  Instructions could be sent directly to drivers, while also monitoring their driving performance, fuel efficiency and potentially even their health using wearable technologies.  

4. Inter-company/parties intelligence:  Using vehicle and driver intelligence the logistics world has the potential to achieve a significantly more efficient supply chain.  Half-empty trailers  causing unnecessary congestion on the roads due to a lack of inter-company asset optimization or laborious manual freight matching information  would become a thing of the past.  We would finally realize a truly interoperable, efficient logistics service across the entire commercial vehicle value chain. 

In the information age, actionable intelligence is the ultimate currency. While the approach to how this intelligence is utilized presents several opportunities, I have no doubt that this will fundamentally disrupt the commercial vehicle industry. It will impact the way we think about innovation, who we collaborate with to build the new ecosystems and define the relationships we seek to build across the entire supply and logistics chain. As they say, and I believe, ‘it takes a village’ to realize this promise and will require leading CV manufacturers to explore open-source innovation and co-creation to grow in the future.

What is clear is that the blueprint that got us here will have to be reimagined to get us to where we need to be tomorrow, if we are to realize the true potential of an autonomous, connected and electric (ACE) commercial vehicle future.

For more information on WABCO’s vision of ACE please click here


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