Also in the news this week are Toyota, GATEway Project, UK Smart Mobility Living Lab, Amazon, Whole Foods, General Motors Fleet and MapAnything.

The waters continue to rise in the V2V revolution. Will VW’s deployment break the dam? Andrew Tolve reports.

If the dream of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications comes to fruition, the world will have German engineering to thank. Last week Volkswagen announced that it will start fitting its first models with V2V and V2I in 2019. The technology, which is built on the pWLAN standard, will enable cars to flag dangerous road conditions like black ice or a sudden traffic jam and communicate it to other cars headed in the same direction within milliseconds, without relying on a cellular connection and without storing any data in the process. In the future, the technology will coordinate with emergency responders to warn drivers far in advance if a police car or emergency vehicle is approaching.

Volkswagen joins Mercedes-Benz, whose 2017 E-Class was the first car with V2V capabilities to go into production; Audi, whose 2017 A4 has the first V2I technology on the planet; and BMW which offers hazard warning systems on a number of its newest vehicles, meaning that all four of Germany’s primary carmakers are pioneering the V2V field. That exceeds the total number of carmakers outside of Germany with mainstream V2V deployments — General Motors and its 2017 Cadillac CTS in the US, Volvo and its 2017 90 series in Europe and Toyota and its ITS Connect in Japan.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that safety applications enabled by V2V and V2I could eliminate up to 80% of non-impaired crashes, including crashes at intersections or while changing lanes. However, the promise will only be realised if the majority of cars on the road can communicate (rather than a handful talking to each other within their own brand). The real test, therefore, will be how quickly V2V expands across model lines and whether carmakers and aftermarket suppliers offer retrofit solutions to make V2V the norm rather than the exception.

In other news, Ford is creating a dedicated robotics and artificial intelligence team to research and develop mobility solutions beyond self-driving cars. The team will focus on new sensor technologies, machine learning methods, personal mobility devices and drones. Ford has promised to have a mainstream self-driving car on the road by 2021 — a massive undertaking in and of itself — but that work is being steered by its Argo AI team. Ford plans to treat its new robotics and AI team as a separate start-up and to partner with researchers and universities around the world.

The world’s first autonomous grocery delivery trials are underway in London. The trials are being conducted by the GATEway Project at the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab and feature a self-driving delivery vehicle called CargoPod operating in a residential environment, delivering grocery orders to more than a hundred customers. What’s most notable here is the timing, with the trials kicking off just two weeks after online retail giant Amazon purchased organic grocery store titan Whole Foods, auguring a future in which all groceries are autonomously dropped by vehicle or drone at your door.

Autonomous vehicle technology could shrink the auto insurance sector by 71% or $137Bn (£105Bn) by 2050, according to new research by KPMG, titled The Chaotic Middle: The Autonomous Vehicle and Disruption in Automobile Insurance. The study identifies a perfect storm of contributing factors, from the ridesharing revolution, which lessens the need for personal auto insurance, to autonomous technology and the long-term decline in auto accidents.

Nearly a third of sales managers estimate their representatives spend less than half their time actively selling because of time lost to scheduling and commuting to customer meetings.Enter General Motors Fleet which struck up a new partnership with MapAnything last week. Their combined offering, MapAnything Live for GM Fleet customers, which will streamline routes for sales reps and automate some of the more tedious and time-consuming parts of their jobs, such as work order creation, case status changes and invoice creation based on the vehicle's proximity to a customer.

Finally, the Toyota Camry, the best-selling car in America for the past 15 years running, is getting a major facelift in 2018, its infotainment included. The car will be the first Toyota to feature the new Toyota Entune 3.0 multimedia system, which comes with new remote start and lock/unlock technology, remote diagnostics, vehicle status notifications, a guest driver monitor and a vehicle finder. The system also features a new navigation app that wirelessly updates over-the-air to keep the most current points of interest and road closures and reroutes.

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU-Automotive analysis with information from industry sources.

Connected Fleets USA 2017

25 Sep 2017 - 26 Sep 2017, ATLANTA, USA

Connected Fleets USA 2017 will assess the challenges and opportunities that new digital technologies present in managing the total costs of operating a fleet.