According to a recent report from the Department for Transport, heavy goods vehicle (HGV) traffic is 7.5 per cent higher so far in 2017 than it was four years ago, making it the second fastest growing traffic type in this period. With more large vehicles on our roads, safety, efficiency and driving conditions need to be considered as a priority by fleet managers.
It’s been two years since the world’s first self-driving HGV hit the roads. The 18-wheel Freightliner Inspiration was set to make long-haul road transportation safer, more cost effective and better for the planet. Two years later, autonomous HGV trails have gone one step further and now involve platooning — a technology that allows the electric coupling of vehicles to run in close formation across long stretches of motorway. Platooning would allow HGVs to drive close together at constant speed to significantly reduce fuel efficiency, however platooning is unlikely to work in all locations. An impenetrable line of HGVs has the potential to cause problems for cars leaving and joining the road. Before the technology is rolled out on a national scale, researchers need to consider the impact on other road users.
With the rising cost of energy and carbon dioxide emission targets to hit, we are finding ourselves driving in darkness. Street lights provide safety and security for vehicles and passengers, so why has it been rendered a luxury? One solution, pioneered and trialled in Glasgow after the city was granted £24 million in government funding, is smart street lighting. These lights are dimmed based on ambient light measurements, and, by harnessing this real-time data, the lights can be dimmed and brightened as needed.
Smart lighting offers remote sensing to a central operations centre. This enables clear data feeds and allows manual control if required. Additionally, these lights include a bonus of movement detection. This means data-rich collection of footfall and traffic flow which will aid city planning. Air pollution detection and WiFi services are also included on the long list of smart light benefits. While the trials are currently being rolled out across Glasgow, this emission reducing, road enhancing solution may be outside your door step before you know it.
Despite new regulation stating that all passenger vehicles manufactured in Europe must have tyre pressure monitoring systems fitted as standard, this does not apply to commercial vehicles and HGVs. Vehicles can be fitted with TPMS, leaving the responsibility of tracking tyre pressure with the driver. However, there are also options that fleet managers can take to put the responsibility in their own hands.
For example, TyrePal’s TeleTPMS helps commercial fleet managers continuously monitor vehicle and trailer tyre pressures remotely. It will also send alerts via text or email to the fleet office, warning them of a potential problem in the very early stages, severely reducing the potential of a blowout or tyre fire. In the event of a puncture, the system issues warnings so drivers can take action before a tyre becomes permanently damaged. The TeleTPMS comprises of a set of sensors fitted to the tyres of vehicles and trailers in the fleet. A smart TeleTPMS module collects and processes tyre data, together with GPS location. The devices transmit this information to a remote database that managers can access via a web application.