Commercial Motor - Telematics Comment
Peter Millichap, Director of Marketing at Teletrac Navman, comments:
• Is there are call/requirement for every truck in Europe to have telematics devices fitted? If so, how feasible is this and what are the timescales and challenges involved?
“There doesn’t appear to be a groundswell of support across Europe amongst policymakers for mandatory use of telematics. In fact, the EU is looking to tighten regulations around how data is captured and stored, so policymakers would need to be convinced there is clear evidence for the blanket use of telematics. The demand for telematics is currently driven by business wishing to improve their fleet operations, safety, and their bottom line.
“The predicted growth of connected trucks on UK roads will automatically facilitate the greater use of telematics equipment, however, we are unlikely to see substantial changes during the next few years, particularly given the percentage of older vehicles on the road.
“Insurance companies may penalise businesses in future who do not install telematics equipment surrounding issues such as driver behaviour. Many businesses currently consider telematics as a vital part of their risk management strategy.
“The UK Government has previously carried out research on telematics but indicated that further data and evidence is required relating to driver behaviour and reducing potential accidents before policy changes are considered.”
• How can operators use their telematics systems and devices to prevent a repeat performance of what happened in Berlin? (I know this sounds a bit of a simplistic way of putting it, but there are probably ways that the industry can fight against terrorism).
“Businesses usually approach telematics from a security and crime perspective, rather than fearing a potential terrorist incident.
“Integrated platforms such as Teletrac Navman’s Director allows fleet managers to track their vehicles at all times, including if they’re stolen, so action can be taken immediately. Businesses can also set up geo-fences – areas where they do not wish their trucks to go – and fleet managers are automatically alerted if this happens.”
• What systems are available that can help shut down telematics systems in the event of a problem like that witnessed in Berlin? If they don’t exist, is there the potential to develop such a system and is this even the answer? Would they be difficult to infiltrate or hack into?
“There is technology which allows police forces, in conjunction with a representative from the business involved, to automatically shut down and immobilise a rogue vehicle which has remote access settings installed, however, this must be done in circumstances where there is no danger to the wider public.
“Immobilisation however is not a ‘silver bullet’ and wouldn’t be appropriate for all circumstances – vehicles can only be immobilised once it has been confirmed it’s stolen, stationary and authorisation is granted by a senior officer.
“The increased use of biometrics across various industries could also play a role in the future. For example, each vehicle could automatically be linked to an individual’s biometrics, ensuring no one else is able to access it.”
• What role can the telematics community play now and in the future with regards ensuring safety and security against the type of events such as Berlin and Nice?
“There are concerns about driverless vehicles being hacked by cyber terrorists in the future, and we advocate that the industry should work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure new technologies are secure.
“In the meantime, fleet operators should use all relevant tracking and security products to protect both their own drivers and other road users.”