11th October 2016

Paris Motor Show points to exciting future for fleets

Primarily associated with jaw-dropping concept cars and the glitzy unveiling of the latest production models from major car brands down to boutique manufacturers, motor shows are also where some remarkable technology and services get showcased, which are of particular interest to fleet managers at this time of rapid change.

This year at Mondial de l’Automobile, company car drivers infuriated by trying to find a parking space are shown how they will be able to benefit from TomTom and Coyote’s having teamed up with Parkopedia to provide real-time premium on and off-street parking information.

Faurecia’s Smart Pebbles elements, displayed as a “living room”, illustrate how future fleet cars interiors’ will intelligently adapt to different drivers, passengers and driving modes – including autonomous – with retractable tablets, screens, tables and haptic feedback making on-board working more comfortable. Touted as a smart seat for smart cars, the firm’s Active Wellness seat points to how predictive cockpits will maximise occupant safety and comfort through sensor-monitoring of biological and behavioural data, helping reduce stress and drowsiness, which both affect today’s company car drivers.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are fast becoming commonplace and Korean company PLK’s camera-based technology could keep business drivers safer by detecting lane lines even in bad weather and on poor surfaces, building a memory of roads driven on. Additionally, video recording systems, pedestrian detection, front car departure alert and traffic light recognition will play a part in collision mitigation.

Twenty-five of the thirty-four cars on display use map data from HERE, who work with OEMs, mobile device manufacturers, road agencies and others. Requiring no driver input, rich sensors gather relevant and highly-accurate data from pooled connected vehicles, sending it to the cloud. HERE’s services will no doubt play a sizeable role in autonomous vehicles and in reducing traffic jams and parking headaches, ultimately increasing business efficiency. The highly detailed digital maps will also be integrated with autonomous emergency braking, keeping business drivers safer.

For entrepreneurs and small business owners in UK cities who prefer not to own a car, free-floating car-sharing services like VULOG provide a strong clue as to the direction taken by urban mobility solutions providers.

Fleet-favourite Mercedes has also caught my attention by announcing its EQ sub-brand, the Generation EQ concept vehicle incorporating twin electric motors enabling permanent four-wheel drive, a likely range of around 300 miles and the potential ability to obtain 100 miles’ worth of charge in five minutes. Based on four pillars – Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric – the autonomous production car hopefully won’t look too different and will use HERE mapping to automatically adjust its speed according to the exact radii of roundabouts and corners, for example, whilst on-board Car-to-X technology will share data will smart city devices, buildings and other vehicles.

Based on the products and services showcased at the Paris Motor Show, the future for business and indeed private drivers is shaping up to be incredibly exciting thanks to big data, autonomy and the IoT.