Online shopping highlights the need for a fully connected delivery fleet
Now, more than ever, Britain is a nation of internet shoppers. Even before the pandemic hit, the percentage of online retail sales was on an inexorable upward trajectory, but when the first nationwide lockdown set in, internet sales surged[i] from 19.1% to 32.8%, peaking last January at 37.7% with the third confinement.
But as we camped out in our living rooms, returning to Amazon after every call from the teams to pluck a juicy Lightning Deal from the ever-changing homepage, someone had to brave the outside world to deliver it all. And that was up to the humble driver of the van.
As a result, van fleets are more important than ever to our economy and, befitting their status as a mobile workplace, manufacturers have responded by making them more comfortable, even like cars. Now all but the most utilitarian Ford Transits are rolling off the line with a centrally mounted touchscreen, creating an opportunity to streamline driver workflows that have gone untapped so far.
Cobalt Cube from VNC Automotive® enables the secure integration of multiple devices with a vehicle’s existing displays and controls, eliminating the need for bulky aftermarket hardware and displays. This means third-party systems – common in the logistics industry – can now be accessed via the vehicle’s built-in display, significantly reducing installation overhead, making them more intuitive to use and safer in the event of an emergency. ‘accident. Plus, with no unsightly holes in the dashboard, the vehicle retains a higher residual value at the end of its fleet life.
iOS and Android smartphone apps can also be integrated, making it easy to access information such as waybills or the next delivery location, all with minimal driver distraction.
“Many fleets have developed smartphone apps to act as the primary point of interaction for their drivers,” said Peter Galek, Director of Product Engineering, VNC Automotive. “It’s not necessarily the best device for many daily functions; the small screen creates limitations, and they are often dropped, damaged or lost. Using Cobalt Cube, however, capitalizes on the ergonomically optimized display that is already fitted to the vehicle.
The system is proven, having been integrated into police and first responder vehicles around the world, while the company’s connectivity technology is found in more than 35 million vehicles worldwide. By integrating Cobalt Cube, car manufacturers can take advantage of the rise of touch screens in commercial vehicles and bring significant added value to their customer fleets.
Imagine being able to deliver a 15% improvement in fuel economy, a 40% reduction in accidents and 45% less downtime across an entire fleet. One platform promising such transformative results is Lightfoot, a telematics provider that describes its approach as empowering drivers to self-manage by incentivizing good driving. After gamifying the experience through an app, safe and efficient drivers are rewarded with the chance to win prizes while those who haven’t yet reached the same level are coached in real time.
With Cobalt Cube, the groundwork was laid to integrate systems such as this with the vehicle’s on-board display where it could also join the company’s logistics application, potentially eliminating the need for the driver to use a smartphones.
By working with VNC Automotive, Cobalt Cube’s software configuration can be customized to meet almost any requirement, but this flexibility also simplifies integration for the manufacturer. Each vehicle can be assembled to the same standardized specifications, leaving the customer or their service integrator to download the software required for that particular unit’s role, be it a last mile courier, a utilities or a refrigerated supermarket delivery.
“We’ve worked with OEMs, fleets and integrators around the world for many years, so we already have the expertise and experience to tie these systems together to ensure they work seamlessly and seamlessly. flaw,” Galek continued.
“Now that light commercial vehicle connectivity has caught up with that of passenger cars, there is an opportunity to take it to the next level and use this technology to make the lives of our van drivers easier and safer. After the support they have shown us, they definitely deserve it.