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Fleet Year End Budget: what are the trends?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM

  Fleet Year End Budget: what are the trends?

‘Tis the season to be jolly’—but also to be busy! At this time of the year you should typically be some way into next year’s planning—you’d be a little on the late side if you haven’t started already. We know everyone is extremely busy as this time of the year, but in order for a business to plan ahead for 2019, they should be sure to make the most out of what is left of the 2018 budget.

If you are like the majority of businesses operating fleets, you will probably have some leftovers in the budget that are subject to the old ‘use it or lose it’ rule. But what happens for lots of companies is that they either do not have time (or feel they do not have time) to decide on an intelligent spend for this, or they just squander it on irrelevancies, just for the sake of not losing it. If you are among those who, luckily enough, can decide what to do with the leftovers after your holidays and it is available through to 2019, you can weigh up your best investment options and get ready for the final toasts. But if not using that budget means having a lower budget for 2019, then you might be urged to spend.

First of all, how have you been able to establish how much is left of your fleet management budget? Like in every other sector, the idea is that everything applying to the expenses of your fleet is tracked carefully and all items accounted for when calculating your remaining budget. If you are still using multiple systems to get your fleet expenses on a digital file, chances are that your estimate is inaccurate and you might actually waste budget that you don’t have or either cannot take advantage of what is left for the year. Are you sure that you or your organisation is actually keeping track of all the factors that make up the fleet spend and that your budget estimate is accurate?

If the answer is ‘no’, you should definitely consider the acquisition of a system able to record all of your expenses in order to get a realistic view of how much you can potentially spend or how much you should keep on saving. Even better if that same system is able to offer other options at the same time, such as a complete maintenance module or other tools able to make your office paperless. With time, you should not only be able to check out on remaining budget, but also to have a realistic forecast on next year’s spending, a regular review of your spend which will allow you to set your fleet strategy in a more intelligent way.

If you already have a system able to do so, maybe you can check out what the next trend is: dashcams have started to become more and more important for both drivers and fleets, and insurance companies have started to offer discounts to those interested in this product. If you need more information, make sure to let us know: we have quite a few ideas to make your season jolly and your budget spend wiser!

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet management technology, News, Stats & Facts

Compulsory dashcams: UK government plans and the opinion of drivers

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Compulsory dashcams UK government plans and the opinion of drivers

The focus on dashboard cameras continues to be important after an insurance company has announced that discounts will be offered in Ireland on a regular basis to customers wishing to combine a dashboard camera with their insurance policy.

According to a recent survey carried out by GoCompare, drivers actually welcome the use of dashboard cameras, which have proved to be a great tool for fleet and driver safety, as they can assist with monitoring driving style and help staff to become safer drivers, but can also be crucial in the event of a collision by providing video evidence.

The GoCompare survey discovered that around a third of the drivers interviewed claimed dashboard cameras should be fitted as a compulsory item in the cars and vehicles of the future. This fraction of the interviewed, corresponding to 32%, complements the 48% who claimed to be happy to have dashcams installed on board. There seems to be quite a high consensus when it comes to dashcams use as only 8% claimed they would not like to have a dashcam installed. The main concerns for this minority appear to be with the potential for distraction and the perception that the installation would be a hassle.

At the same time, news has been published according to which a new two-year action plan from the UK’s Department of Transport has been released in order to encourage the elimination of dangerous driving and road rage and to stimulate cooperation between the different road users. The attempt is also aimed at reducing traffic and improving air quality.

The plan of action will hopefully minimise dangerous parking and promote respectful driving when interacting with cyclists as well; but these are not the only points, as it seems the police force will be able to count on a new back office that will provide an opportunity to analyse video evidence (dashcam footage included) submitted by the public.

The objective is to bring about a general improvement in road safety and protect users that are more at risk such as cyclists or pedestrians.

 

Photo Credit: By Fernost - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29835936

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts

The safety and compliance of drivers in the gig economy era

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 15, 2018 9:00:00 AM

The safety and compliance of drivers in the gig economy era

We are always talking about safety and how to deal with it—how to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the potential risks surrounding fleets and drivers—as something essential. It is undoubtedly never an easy task  (well, maybe  for some companies more than others), but in some instances this is not just down to the fact that companies do not know how to approach this vital requirement, it is because responsibilities don’t always seems to be a hundred percent clear.

When we think about this for a moment, we might take a closer look at the ‘grey fleet’ sector to illustrate the point: despite vehicles not being actually owned by the company, they still fall under its purview, at least during the hours in service of that particular company (they might be privately owned as acquired through a particular employee scheme, for example). But what happens to those drivers who work in the so-called ‘gig economy’?

We assume you are not new to this term. If you are unsure, it basically means that drivers who work in the gig economy do not get a fixed salary but are rather paid for each completed ‘gig’, which in this case is a single ride, often assigned via an app. Gig economy driving has been the subject of ongoing controversy since the companies who provide the platform which makes the jobs available for workers (usually a smartphone app), are claiming this type of work simply provides the means for drivers to choose their own working hours. On the other hand, drivers are not strictly hired and it is claimed by these companies that they are in fact self-employed and the app simply provides a service for them to obtain work, hence why the health and safety responsibilities have become harder to pin down.

During the 8th annual conference on work related road safety, organised by the ETSC (European Transport Safety Council), Ms. Heather Ward from London’s UCL Centre of Transport Studies presented this as an important topic for the audience to consider: an evolving commercial scenario whereby safety training is distinctly lacking and responsibilities are opaque due to this particularly new type of working arrangement facilitated by the development of smartphone apps.

The UCL work team interviewed drivers and launched an online survey for those working in the gig economy and it emerged that those drivers had no risk training, are not given safety vests and can experience particularly intense pressures during peak times.

Another issue revealed the lack of time tracking for those working for more than one of these companies at a time, so potentially it is possible for those drivers to work for 12 hours without a break and do it for 2-3 weeks continuously. Some drivers claimed that having to use the app in order to get jobs while on the road was a source of distraction for them (since they need to keep their phone on in order to get these gigs) or that they have felt forced to speed or to park in areas where it is not allowed to make their deliveries.

The first set of data was officially published in an article by the tech section of the BBC at the end of August, where Ms. Ward and Ms. Christie, both involved in the research work, made a call for the government to regulate transport and impose stricter safety management in these cases.

 

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, Road Safety

Coventry bus crash might push authorities to make telematics legally compulsory

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Coventry bus crash might push authorities to make telematics legally compulsory

A fatal bus crash dating back to October 2015 which took place in Coventry city centre may push authorities into making a decision as to whether fleet telematics should become compulsory, at least for public service fleets and HGVs, according to the legal firm Stephenson’s.

Last month, the Birmingham Crown Court established that dangerous driving was the factual cause of the fatal collision which involved a bus from the company Midland Red South, a subsidiary of Stagecoach, which crashed into a local Sainsbury supermarket. From the investigations carried out, it seems the driver mistook his accelerator for the brake, initiating the collision which resulted in the death of a passenger who was travelling on the upper deck and a pedestrian.

According to a reconstruction of the event, it turned out that the driver in question had been warned on multiple occasions by the same companies via letters highlighting his risky behaviour and poor driving; and this was down to the fact that all buses were fitted with telematics equipment and could therefore disclose this kind of information. A total of eight warning letters had been sent to the driver, but no further action was taken by his company. It has been revealed that the same driver had already been involved in four other incidents during the period 2011 to 2014.

Apparently, he had retired at the age of 65 but was again hired by the company as a casual driver at the age of 77. Furthermore, it is alleged that the driver, Kailash Chander, had been working for a total of 75 hours per week in the three weeks leading up the fatal crash; something that is actually legal according to GB Domestic Rules, but probably not appropriate for a person of his age. Chander was also diagnosed with dementia at an early stage after the crash.

As the driver was judged mentally unfit to attend the trial, Stagecoach pleaded guilty to the charge relating to the Health and Safety at Work Act in September 2017 and will be sentenced on November 26th. According to public opinion, it is incredible that Stagecoach continued to allow this particular driver to work despite his age and the stark fact that his unsafe driving practices were detected by the telematics system. In this particular case, the operator has been prosecuted for not maintaining safety despite the tracking system revealing driver behaviour issues.

This might be an example of how telematics itself definitely helps with the implementation of a risk assessment program, but it is completely pointless if companies do not act fully upon the data they receive from vehicles and act before it is too late. Operators should use data in a proactive way, especially when they are repeatedly informed of a driver who is particularly at risk, as was the case in this instance. Traffic commissioners and transport organisations still do not consider telematics a compulsory feature of fleet operation, but similar accidents in the future may actually prompt governments to make it so.

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, News, Stats & Facts

Transpoco partners with Timing Ireland for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 1, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Transpoco partners with Timing Ireland for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon

The SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon has become a yearly appointment and 2018 has not been an exception. 20,000 participants ran last Sunday during the 39th edition of the event, which has become a yearly fixture for Transpoco and Timing Ireland too.

Transpoco’s technology, regularly used by companies to track their vehicles and run them safely and efficiently, has on this occasion been used to track the runners who took part in the Dublin Marathon event. As usual, with the invaluable help of Timing Ireland, the API data provided by the GPS tracking software has been converted into the on track position of the participants, displayed on special screens to make it easier for everyone to follow the competition.

Transpoco partners with Timing Ireland for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon_2

It is not the first time that Transpoco has successfully been involved in similar events. The company provided GPS tracking technology during a past Dún Laoghaire running event and at the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2017.

If you want to learn how the benefits of the GPS tracking technology can help you in better running your vehicles, contact us. You can also sign up for a free trial and start getting all its advantages for free!

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, News, Stats & Facts

Fleet vehicle ownership vs fleet vehicle usage: what will the future bring us?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Fleet vehicle ownership vs fleet vehicle usage what will the future bring us

While global vehicle traffic has reached a record high of 254.4 billion miles in 2017, with van and cars recording the highest increase and coaches and buses seeing the largest decrease, it seems in any case a statistic we won’t see again for some time. With regards to the future patterns of traffic and transportation, experts predict that the stress will be put on vehicle usage rather than ownership, with a consequent shift to mobility solutions consumed as services (MaaS), where the key concept is to offer mobility solutions tailored for the travelling needs, both of businesses and end users.

The rise in technology of self-driving vehicles is responsible for this disruption of the system, where we will be (fleets included) supposed to choose options involving autonomous cars or even ride hailing services) instead of traditionally using a vehicle from a starting point to reach a destination. But this is probably not the only factor influencing the change in trend.

According to insights shared from KPMG’s Mobility 2030, the number applying for a driving licence among those aged between 17 and 20 has fallen from 50% to 33% in the UK (data confirmed by the Department of Transport) and vehicle ownership will gradually lose its importance in favour of passenger miles.

Overall, vehicle ownership has obviously grown dramatically over the past decades as very few users could have access to vehicles in 1950s, while during the last years the percentage of those accessing vehicles has plateaued at around 77% in 2016. But with the technological innovations we are starting to experience now, the shift is likely to be on finding alternatives to vehicle ownership, though not everything is supposed to be based on simple car sharing or similar for everyone. Vehicles will still be key in mobility, but maybe your fleet will not necessarily own them.

What has also become part of the trend lately is that the vehicle, for both end users and professional drivers, has an initial status of indicating freedom of movement, though the attention has actually shifted on the need for companies and users to keep vehicles roadworthy and to drive safely to avoid collisions which seems somehow less “appealing” for those who drive for pleasure, but is at the same time necessary for those who hit the road for work—hence the development of safe driving technologies or the struggle towards innovation such as autonomous vehicles, which in an ideal and future world should guarantee safety and eliminate vehicle accidents.

What do you think will be the scenarios for fleets, and will they no longer be owning vehicles?

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, self-driving vehicles, autonomous vehicles

Why the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 has lots in common with fleet management

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Why the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 has lots in common with fleet management

What is considered probably the greatest international sporting event, other than the Olympics, is now well underway and already reaching fever pitch. In almost every corner of the world fans are following the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 event, supporting their country (if they are still in it) or their favourite team, and getting increasingly anxious to see them progress to the final.

 

And what about you? Are you the type of football enthusiast who likes to operate with the match commentary on the radio constantly in the background, or are you not overly worried and too busy with your fleet? What about your staff and drivers? The next few paragraphs very much involve you whether you are a football fan or not and actually outline a lot of points in common with the fleet management profession and with running vehicles in general. You will be surprised how much you can relate to this event, and these points might also be a good team building activity for your drivers. Let’s begin!

 

#1 - Distracted driving is definitely an issue and collision avoidance systems are very much under discussion. We are not talking about your drivers listening to matches while driving (hopefully they are not doing anything as foolish as using tablets or phones behind the wheel to check the results—you’d better have a policy regulating that kind of behaviour if you suspect this might be happening) or using in-vehicle technologies, but this is more to do with something that happened at the very beginning of the event reported by Fleet Europe: just ahead of the World Cup games on Sunday, June 17, a taxi-driver in Moscow accelerated onto the sidewalk and ran over several pedestrians before hitting a traffic sign, something that would have probably been avoided with the use of specific safety systems. The taxi driver has been detained by police and the case is being investigated and has sparked widening discussions on the adoption of emergency brake systems and similar safety devices.

 

#2 - The World Cup has its own fleet: organising such a huge event requires fast transportation of media officers, players, officials throughout the whole tournament and vehicles need to be readily available to facilitate the logistics. This year, vehicle manufacturer Kia Motors has provided 424 vehicles to assist operations at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup. Kia Motors has been FIFA’s Official Partner since 2007.

Why the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 has lots in common with fleet management_2
Photo Credit: http://www.thedrive.com/news/21262/kia-provides-424-vehicles-for-official-use-at-2018-fifa-world-cup-russia

 

#3 - FIFA is making growing use of GPS and tracking technologies. Yes, if you are a football supporter you will probably know this already—GPS technology has been fully recognized as a method of location tracking in football. Both on and off the pitch, this World Cup is seeing technology playing a bigger role than ever. Consider not only the goal-line technology, already in use for some time, but also the use of ‘wearables’ that generate player positional data and metrics for tactical analysis—just some of the latest technologies making news. GPS-based wearables are worn by players and record the data of hundreds of events per second—from player position, to distance covered, to speed and number of accelerations, heart rate, to kick accuracy and even the impact from tackles. By running this data on a special analysis platform, coaches can plan team strategies, substitutions, design physical workouts sessions and suchlike, according to the demands of each player’s position. Doesn’t this all sound familiar to you? In this video you will see how this is put into practice:

 


#4 - Metrics and technology are an invaluable help to managing teams.
Exactly like it happens for fleets, technology is making life much easier, helping to eliminate mistakes and improving performance. VAR (Video Assistance Referee), GLT (Goal Line Technology) and EPTS (Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems) are key innovations today just like vehicle tracking, dashboard cameras and fleet management solutions are for your daily activity. This is how the teams can take advantage of metrics to improve their collective performance:

 

If you wish to do the same for your fleet, don’t hesitate to let us know!

 

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, Fleet Management, fleet management technology

2018 CVO Fleet Barometer report: what is the current status of European fleets?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM

2018 CVO Fleet Barometer report: what is the current status of European fleets

The 2018 Fleet Barometer report is the result of an annual research conducted by the Corporate Vehicle Observatory, a neutral knowledge sharing platform dedicated to all corporate fleet stakeholders, both private and public companies. The results of this year’s edition were made public in mid-June and seem to provide a complete picture of how European fleets are confident about their future growth, still count on leasing as a reliable source of funding, and are increasingly reliant upon telematics and new technologies. For the 2018 research, more than 3000 fleet managers across a range of European countries were interviewed. Let’s review the survey outcome point by point!

 

#1 - Hybrid and electric vehicle growth. According to the CVO FB report, 30% of very large fleets have already switched to electric vehicles, and 27% to hybrids. Both large and very large fleets indicate they want to accelerate this trend in the years to come, with small and medium fleets planning to follow suit. Companies are increasingly concerned about their CO2 targets, and the trend towards alternative powertrains is seen as a future prospect or concern to be debated by 32% of the small fleets interviewed (48% for large fleets). The increasing stress is attributed to the pressures of Corporate Social Responsibility, and the stricter WLTP test is also seen as a contributing factor.

 

#2 - Interest in mobility technology and telematics. European fleets seem to be interested in mobility alternatives such as car sharing or ride sharing services, but fleet managers are increasingly interested in car-sharing and ride-sharing as mobility alternatives for their company. Mobility budgets and telematics are also becoming more popular, as almost a third of large and very large companies have telematics tools in place in at least part of their fleets, mainly for vehicle tracking, journey optimisation, lowering fuel costs and improving safety. Particularly important was the UK result with 50% of the interviewed companies there making use of telematics (some way above the European average). As for the individual reasons for telematics implementation: 60% of the interviewed confirmed they chose telematics to improve global driver safety, 55% to improve driver behaviour, 74% of companies use it to locate vehicles, 61% to optimize journeys and 59% to reduce the global fleet costs.

 

#3 - Whole business confidence has increased. Large fleets expressed the highest confidence in future fleet growth: 27% of them anticipate a growth in their size, but smaller ones also seem to be reasonably confident as 13% of them do expect fleet growth. Overall, small and medium-sized companies are most confident in the UK.

 

#4 - Full-service leasing as preferred financing option. Very large company fleets (51%) and large company fleets (38%) seem to prefer operational leasing as a financing option. This is hardly a new trend: leasing has been a preferred option for large to very large companies for a long time, and the figures mentioned above are fairly stable over time. But this seems to be something that SMEs—who traditionally have not used leasing as a financing method for their fleets—are tentatively moving towards. The share of small businesses choosing the lease option has increased from 9% to 17% in the last 3 years. For medium-sized companies, the increase is from 17% to 21%.

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, GPS & Tracking, fleet management technology

Autonomous and IoT connected vehicles: how fleets can be impacted by automotive research

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Autonomous and IoT connected vehicles: how fleets can be impacted by automotive research

Being connected is now an option for almost everything and technology plays a major part of our everyday lives, not only when it comes to work but also when carrying out simple tasks such as ordering a meal, paying for a service or booking your holidays. The automotive industry is no exception to this modern trend, and fleet managers should understand that remarkable changes caused by rapid shifts in automation technology are happening sooner rather than later.

 

Autonomous and IoT (Internet of Things) connected vehicles have been the subject of intense research in recent times, with experts scrutinising sensors, circuits, communication possibilities as well as vehicle control systems, software, artificial intelligence and data collection. While autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless vehicles or self-driving vehicles, are literally capable of sensing their environment and moving without human input, connected vehicles are equipped with integrated systems able to connect to a network like a cloud system, to other vehicles or devices and infrastructure by means of an Internet connection.

 

When thinking about self-driving cars, people imagine a future in which they get a new vehicle with a button that once pressed takes them wherever they want to go, but the impact of autonomous vehicles is going to be much broader than that. There will be roads exclusively for self-driving vehicles which will be host to a new vehicle category different from the existing ones and might change the way we are used to seeing things, with remote operators rather than drivers as such who manage the vehicles safely and efficiently. From this perspective, it’s reasonable to suggest that fleet tracking is certainly not going to diminish in importance. Arguably, it will be more vital when there is no human driver at the steering wheel.

 

What is probably happening faster—and is already a reality—is the growth of connected cars. It has been estimated that around 381 million connected cars will be on the road by the year 2020; and in the US alone, fleet vehicles employing connected car technology will reach 12.7 million units by the same year, 2020.

 

Some of the benefits of connected car technology for fleets are already evident, even if IoT systems and artificial intelligence is not yet widespread. Connected vehicles technology might in the future allow fleet managers to monitor nearly every aspect of the vehicle operation in real time, from speed to location and route travel, to fuel usage if this applies, from driver distraction to global efficiency and safety. IoT permits such parameters (and probably many more) to be measured and their data transmitted.

 

The global ecosystem is changing rapidly into a more complex environment, and the shift to what are known as ‘ACES’ fleets (autonomous, connected, electric, shareable) will require the appropriate expert management and research. IoT, artificial intelligence, big data, and connected car technology have already demonstrated they have the power to revolutionize the fleet management industry. We know the potential of this and are working towards the future thanks to the help of our dedicated research team. If you are looking for a reliable partner for your IoT connected vehicles project or automotive OEM, why not contact us today...

 

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, automotivetechnology

What3words (W3W): an innovative new way for your fleet drivers to find an address?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM

What3words (W3W)—an innovative new way for your fleet drivers to find an address

What3Words is a start-up based in London that has come up with a new system to pinpoint locations in an original and innovative way by dividing the world into, as they claim, 57 trillion 3mx3m square grids, and every square has been assigned a unique and fixed set of 3 words that identify an address in an easy-to-remember way.

It is hardly breaking news that a lot of people, including professional drivers, salespeople, couriers or delivery drivers, sometimes struggle finding their destination for a number of reasons: it could be the inaccuracy of proper addressing systems (as an example, addresses sometimes lead to the main door of a building but not to a specific entrance, so drivers are forced to make phone calls to get additional directions); some places do not have an address at all (or at least not a postal, a street one or a recognized address); or even that when it seems you have finally reached a location thanks to your GPS navigation system, it disengages without you having found the precise place you need. The consequences are often negative for logistics and postal companies, as poor addressing is especially an issue now after the e-commerce boom: it seems every year in the UK, 25 million pieces of undeliverable mail are destroyed due to addressing errors, while in the USA, mail classified as undeliverable as addressed costs the US logistics industry around $20 billion.

The London start-up claims that with the help of the square grid system, each of which has a 3 word signifier, it is much easier to remember an address and precisely find it in a non-ambiguous way as it works the same the world over and is not dependent on postcode or zipcode conventions. According to the w3w team, it would also be easier to share the address in this way, as it doesn’t seems to be common practice to share, for example, GPS coordinates. The service is available in multiple languages.

How did the w3w team come up with this system? The story is quite a fascinating one and could quite easily be the theme for a book or a movie. Chris Sheldrick, the company founder, is also a musician; he identified the problem of vague addresses when he very often saw bands and musical equipment getting lost and wished for a more efficient addressing system. He then met two mathematician friends, Jack Waley-Cohen and Mohan Ganesalingam and, together with them, eventually came up with their first wordlist and later the app creation, and finally the system as it functions today.

We tried to ‘play the game’ ourselves and discovered that our Irish headquarters, based in DCU Alpha, would have the 3 words props.broom.riches. It is then possible to share that location in a number of apps—currently, you can enter that destination straight into Google Maps to get directions or also get it converted into GPS coordinates:

 What3words (W3W) an innovative new way for your fleet drivers to find an address

Only time will tell whether this new concept will be successful and incorporated into other systems...

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, GPS & Tracking

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