One of the biggest fears associated with a fleet deployment of electric vehicles is what will happen when things do not go as planned. In other words, what if the unthinkable happens? What if my driver needs to charge while on the road? What’s more, what if my driver is far from familiar locations, facing a deadline?
The last thing you want your drivers asking is “Where can I charge my EV now?”
One of the greatest things about living in the 21st century is Crowd Sourced Open Data Initiatives. These are projects like Open Street Maps or Wikipedia, where individuals just like us contribute what they know to the greater community. This allows the project to amass a great deal of usable data and serve it back to the public on the web. In most cases, they will suggest users volunteer donations, rather than charging any user a fee.
When you visit the site you will find it easy to navigate. You are able to add the charging stations you have found, or search the map for a charging station near your location. You can even check the map first, and plan your route based on the availability of charging stations along the way. Information about the budget, expenses, and donations received are easily accessible on their project page at Open Collective as well.
It took me less than 5 seconds to find 2 charging stations!
Both stations are just across the highway from our corporate office. Just click on the green charging station icons. That will open a window with all of the details for what kind of chargers are available. There is even a section to add details or comments if there is some detail you want to add.
Now that your fears about finding a place to charge are put to rest, it is time to evaluate what fossil fuel vehicles to replace and what EV to replace them with. That is the subject of an upcoming post on tools to evaluate, based on your current vehicle use, what are the logical choices for your fleet.
Are you using all of the resources that can take your business to the next level?
Road conditions and traffic congestion or gridlock are a major factor that affects punctuality, productivity, and safety. Unfortunately, driving in less than ideal road conditions, and stopping to wait in gridlock is something we must live with. In any case, awareness helps us to avoid some of the worst situations and better cope with the rest.
Can We Eliminate Gridlock?
We all encounter it and we all hate it, but can anything be done about it? Texas A&M recently released its annual Urban Mobility Report. It explains some of the WHY and offers a long list of potential remedies to avoid gridlock. It is clear there is no one solution, but many small things that can be done to impact this problem plaguing metropolitan commuters and fleets.
What are some things a business can do? Both small and large businesses can use remote workers where practical. Another idea is to schedule services for off-peak travel hours by offering incentives to customers for scheduling their service in those off-peak hours. These simple measures are just starting points. The Big Data that is available through the efforts of companies like Geotab, can be used to better understand and prevent the ongoing gridlock in the US.
Road Condition in the US
According to The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report, pavement condition in the US has continued to decline over the years. Some states do better than others when it comes to filling potholes and repairing deficient bridges. It is interesting that the dollars we spend on construction projects to improve road conditions do not always correlate to the percentages of improvement achieved.
Heavy Duty Trucking, commenting on the report, posted, “The percentage of urban interstate mileage in poor condition increased in 29 states with one-third of the nation’s urban interstate mileage in poor condition being concentrated in just five states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, and New York.” “Massachusetts ranks low in the overall rankings but shows the nation’s lowest traffic fatality rate, while South Carolina reports the highest.”
Safety awareness and training are key to every driver coming back safe every day.
There is a wealth of information available on highway safety in the US. This information is provided by safety experts, insurance organizations, and fleet technology providers. Understanding the safest and most dangerous places along your routes can save lives. Here are a few resources you may find helpful.
Bad Weather = Poor driving conditions creating gridlock.
Snow and ice create a dangerous combination. They cause causes accidents and endless gridlock. Knowing when to avoid dangerous weather saves time, lives, and expensive commercial vehicles. You can add forecast weather service to your GPS tracking easily. MyFleetView allows you a 30 day trial of our weather services. The map displays where your vehicles are in relation to the weather conditions and weather related roadway threats you select. See how below.
Weather – Watches and Warnings
Northeast Roadway Threats Overlaid on Watches and Warnings
Adding current and forecast weather to your MyFleetView map is easy! Start your 30 day trial today! Here’s how.
Vehicle cameras are becoming more and more popular as a fleet management tool.
As with any new tool, it takes time to understand the best ways to leverage camera use on your fleet vehicles. When selecting and setting up your vehicle camera system, managing consumption to avoid data overage needs to be considered. Ask yourself some questions when you begin. What information will be most beneficial to you in video format? How do you plan to use it? Who will be responsible for reviewing it?
There are several different types of camera systems, designed for different purposes, and it is important to select the system that will record and deliver the specific type of video record you need. No longer are cameras just a risk management measure to have a record in case of an accident. Forward-facing cameras monitor the road and potential hazards in front of the vehicle. They can stand alone, or be used with peripheral cameras. Some systems also have aninterior view of the cabto record what the driver is doing. Adding side, rear, and cargo area cameras can provide valuable information as well as security. Our camera systems integrate with the Geotab tracking platform for fuller functionality.
Automatic Event Recording
Vehicle cameras designed to record events are primarily used to document the conditions an event occurs. Events may be predefined by the camera system or you can define them yourself when integrated with your vehicle tracking system. Being selective about how many of your rules generate email notifications helps to limit unnecessary email overload. In the same way, be selective about the rules you choose to trigger video downloads to avoid data overage. Speeding is a common rule that you may want to trigger a video download, but if you have several speed rules, choose carefully the one that triggers the video. A rule like 5 mph over the posted speed limit can trigger often and use up your data plan in a hurry.
Cameras with AI
Other vehicle camera systems use artificial intelligence to identify events. They can identify speeding, lane drift, following too closely, even road obstructions. Combined with a smartphone app, these systems give feedback to the driver to avoid potential hazards. With an in-cab view, cameras with AI can also identify and record cell phone use and smoking events.
Some business models such as the Security industry may benefit from live feed capability from vehicle cameras. Supervisors can view live video to consult with and advise the field employee. Managers can view job site progress and several jobs without leaving the office. Live feeds need to be used responsibly. If you forget to turn off the feed and leave for lunch, extreme data overage is the likely result.
If your system offers a feature to monitor how much data you have used, check weekly to see that you are within your data plan limits. Becoming familiar with how much data you are using will allow you to get the most out of your vehicle camera system without incurring costly overages.
MyGeotab Version 1903 Coming Soon to your MyGeotab UI
Let’s take a look at some of the newest features and revisions.
In MyGeotab version 1903 the changes are subtle but very effective. The “View” button has been more appropriately named “Reports” and you can download reports without first viewing them in the browser. Surely that will save lots of time and help new users to get around more easily.
A “My Location” button has been added to the menu. This will help users visualize where vehicles are in relation to where the user is and can be used much like the “Nearest” selection available from zones. Now I am here. Who is closest to me?
The Trips History report in browser view has been revised to separate driving and stopped time in separate rows for clarity. You will find that this improves readability because critical data is now set apart.
Other report revisions you will welcome are on the Vehicles report. Additional columns can be added or hidden and rearranged in the order you prefer, Your newly created view will automatically save for future use. The group name is now shown under the vehicle name, and a red icon identifies vehicles that have not reported. No way to miss that!
More Cool Stuff in MyGeotab Version 1903
When editing zones or geofences, the zone editor window now has 2 tabs, one for properties and one to view the zone on the map. This will make zone edits faster and easier. There are also some new reports coming to the Marketplace. If you have “feature preview” turned on in your user settings, you will find the Purge feature is now accessible as well. You can set the system to automatically purge data older than a specified time frame.
So watch for the changes and be sure to call us if you have any questions. Follow this link if you want to see the full list of updates included in MyGeotab Version 1903, including updates to the SDK.
Beginning on December 18, 2017, a driver using an ELD must have an ELD information packet onboard the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) containing the following items:
A user’s manual for the driver describing how to operate the ELD;
An instruction sheet describing the data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD and step-by-step instructions to produce and transfer the driver’s hours-of-service records to an authorized safety official;
An instruction sheet for the driver describing ELD malfunction reporting requirements and recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions; and
A supply of blank driver’s records of duty status (RODS) graph-grids sufficient to record the driver’s duty status and other related information for a minimum of 8 days.
The problem with a paper manual is keeping it up to date as the rules and technology changes. FMCSA has acknowledged in their FAQ that electronic documents meet their requirements.
What’s the Solution?
Never worry about having the required in vehicle documents, updates, and training again. Just install the free ELD info add-in from the Geotab Marketplace. You drivers can access it from their dashboard in Geotab Drive. The add-in includes direct links to the latest versions of the required documents listed above (except for the paper logs required in the event of ELD malfunction). It also has training videos, important contacts, announcements about updates to the app and workflow documents. The add-in is absolutely free, but you must access the Marketplace from your MyGeotab account to install it.