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Here are the top driving apps for 2020

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The UK was home to 38.9 million vehicles by the end of September 2019, with 32 million being cars. The number is rising 1.3 per cent year on year too, so it’s safe to say that we in the UK love a good road trip. But with the nation on lockdown, many of us are yearning for the open road. Get yourself prepared for that post-lockdown road trip by downloading the best driving apps of 2020, as picked by SEAT dealer Vindis…

Find the car again with Car Locator

When the lockdown eases, you know the roads are going to be packed. So much so, you can go to the shops, the seaside, or local attractions and struggle to find a parking space. After driving around aimlessly, you finally find one! Success — or so you think. Once you’ve left your vehicle and gone about your business, there’s a great chance you’ll have forgotten where you parked. It has happened to the best of us.

In fact, a study by Nissan found that two thirds of the British public have forgotten where they parked their vehicle. On average, this search for your missing vehicle takes 10 minutes before you spot it. However, for five per cent of people this can take over half an hour!

Enter Car Locator. This app can be your saviour. With Car Locator you can either manually enter your location or set your phone up so that it automatically marks it using the car’s Bluetooth. Therefore, simply activate your GPS as you return to your vehicle and eradicate your search time. This app is best used for those who are sprawling outdoor car parks or are in an unfamiliar location. Because of its use of GPS, it’s not effective in underground or multi-storey car parks.  

PlugShare is amazing for electric car owners  

Have you opted to go electric yet? While only 4,054 out of 149,279 cars purchased in the UK in January 2020 were battery electric vehicles, this figure is more than double the amount purchased in January 2019. While the UK continues to work on cutting its emissions and ceasing production of petrol and diesel vehicles in the not-so-distant future, the sales of electric vehicles will continue to rise.

It can be hard to find charging points though. While the amount of charging points is constantly increasing, it’s always important to know where you can ‘refuel’. PlugShare is a free app which can pinpoint charging points near you to ensure that you’re never caught short. 

Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to stay connected 

These two app do similar jobs. Choosing the right one will depend on which phone you have. Android Auto is for those with an Android operating system on their phone. Essentially, this app means that while you’re behind the wheel, you can say ‘OK Google’ and be able to undergo the following tasks: 

  • Set up real-time GPS navigation and be informed about traffic alerts.
  • Check your calendar for any occasions that you have scheduled.
  • Set reminders.
  • Get up-to-date news.
  • Set a do not disturb message on your phone.
  • Make or answer phone calls handsfree.
  • Access so many of your media apps, such as those containing your favourite music playlists, audiobooks and podcasts.

Apple CarPlay is the choice of iOS smartphone users. Featuring Siri voice control, you are able to: 

  • Search for attractions while driving by simply asking for directions through the following means: “Siri, where’s the closest petrol station?”.
  • Have the app predict where you need to be by analysing addresses on your recent emails, text messages, contacts, and calendars.
  • Make calls and listen to voicemail handsfree.
  • Have Siri read and reply to text messages, as well as send messages in new conversations too.
  • Gain access to content via your iTunes, Apple Music or other audio apps accounts, as well as even requesting for Siri to become your personal DJ for the duration of a road trip.

Let these apps keep you connected while your stay focussed on the roads 

Lockdown-safe digital driving thanks to Asphalt 9: Legends

Yearning for the road? Stay safe during this troublesome period and get your automotive fix by downloading this app. For your driving experience during lockdown, this game will allow you to immerse yourself in racing action thanks to developers, Gameloft. Take advantage of your time at home and dive into this arcade-style racing action from your phone. You can compete in a 60-season career mode with over 800 separate races, while also taking part in an online multiplayer competition which pits you against up to seven other active app users.

We’ll be back on the roads soon, but until then, we need to stay safe and stay indoors. Of course, these are just four apps to choose from, and with 20 billion apps in general anticipated to be downloaded this year, there are many more for you to choose from if you wish!

Additional sources

https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/best-mobile-racing-games-ios-android/

https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/top-tens/top-ten-smartphone-apps-for-drivers/

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay 

Free route optimisation tool from Trakm8 during crisis

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Trakm8, the UK’s recognised leader in the field of telematics, is making its Insight Optimisation platform free for as long as the Government lockdown persists, to support fleets of all sizes during the COVID-19 crisis. Trakm8’s solution is a British designed and built SaaS product, developed to support British business and is aimed at small and medium sized enterprises (SME).

The global pandemic has resulted in demand spikes throughout a number of supply chains, from personal protective equipment to grocery items; once commonplace but now scarce. 

In such an environment and with demand at record levels, maintaining and improving the efficiency of operations through AI based route planning becomes paramount.  The task is increasingly complex as deliveries have to respond to obscure and localised spikes in demand that are hard to predict. Furthermore, as economies across the globe artificially slow down to halt the spread of COVID-19, Trakm8 wants to support transport providers through this challenging period by providing free access to its latest optimisation tool.  This will ensure that business are best placed to bounce back when the market restrictions are lifted. 

Insight Optimisation is Trakm8’s intuitive route planning solution which uses big data to handle even the most complex fleet requirements. It’s proven to cut fuel expenditure by up to 20% and increase productivity by up to 33%. Maximising the concept of useable data, rather than planning a simple A to B route, Insight Optimisation takes into account the size and capabilities of your fleet and applies them efficiently to the task at hand, whether that’s five or five thousand deliveries a day. 

The free period of Trakm8’s incredibly simple to use tool can be redeemed at any point during the government lockdown, with no contractual obligations thereafter. Insight Optimisation works with almost every available computer system – all you need to get started with its web-based portal is an up-to-date internet browser. The only file a fleet manager will need to upload is a csv, which you’re able to open in any text editor or spreadsheet tool. 

Commenting on the offer, Peter Mansfield, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Trakm8, said: “At critical moments like these, it’s paramount that supply chains keep moving and goods get where they need to be. Supply chains and the logistics professionals are just as integral as our treasured NHS staff in keeping our country moving, and they need extra support. 

“By making our market-leading route planning product free to anyone who needs it, we hope to provide some extra support to those on the front line.  We are proud to be a British business supporting our country in these difficult times” 

To learn more about Insight Optimisation, please visit https://buy.trakm8.com/insight/optimisation/. For the full terms and conditions, please visit:  https://buy.trakm8.com/insight/optimisation/free-trial-terms-and-conditions/ 

Edgars Water slashes fuel bills and idling time while cutting instances of dangerous driving to zero with Lightfoot

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Edgars Water, one of the largest suppliers of hydration solutions in the UK, has announced the successful installation of Lightfoot’s award-winning in-cab technology across its fleet of 60 vans.

Using Lightfoot’s unique driver rewards platform, Edgars Water has seen a significant drop in its fuel bills with an MPG uplift of 6.3%, a fall in vehicle idling by 4% and an end to instances of poor or dangerous driving.

To read more about the partnership and how Lightfoot can help your fleet, click here.

Smart technology and its impact on the auto industry

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Technology continues to impact on our everyday lives with all major industries striving not to be left behind when it comes to tech advancement. The automotive industry has witnessed huge advancements over the years, for example, in-car Bluetooth systems, dash-cams, and key finders. But what might be next on the agenda?

Smart technology predictions for the car industry over the next few years are set to totally revolutionise the way people drive. These new ideas will focus on safer driving, easier driving, and adding more fun enhancements to your driving experience. UK SEAT dealer Vindis explores what’s coming next…

Full integration with phones and smart watches

We have already seen a huge integration between our cars and our smart gadgets, and this trend is set to continue. Recent innovations have seen car manufacturers such as Hyundai, pair up with the Android Wear app which allows users to complete a number of commands from your smart watch. From your watch you can start your engine remotely, lock your car’s doors, sound your horn, and turn the headlights on and off. 

What’s more, built-in integration with apps is set to become more commonplace with new car models. Many models now integrate popular apps into the infotainment system, making it look just like the usual screen on your phone. 

AR dashboard displays

Augmented reality dashboards will soon provide all the information you could possibly need to enhance your driving experience. Giving your dashboard a video-game aesthetic, AR displays will show any information you need to know about the car itself. They will also give you other vital information about the road, such as how quickly you’re approaching another car, and how best to avoid collisions. 

3D gesture technology 

Imagine changing gears or winding down your car windows with a simple wave of your hand. Like magic, you will soon be able to control many elements of your vehicle with mere gestures. As well as being futuristic and fun, this tech is set to make driving easier and safer. Instead of jabbing at buttons on the radio, or being tempted to reach out for your phone, you will soon be able to point at the screen of your infotainment system to accept an incoming call — a simple solution that means you’ll never have to take your eyes off the road. 

Inter-car communication 

Cars that are hooked up to the internet are now fairly standard in the automotive world. Soon however, these internet-enabled cars will have the ability to communicate with one another, transforming our driving experience. Communication between cars will help prevent collisions, with precision that human error has never before allowed us to achieve. Before a collision can occur, the car-to-car communication system will foresee the accident and alert the driver to the potential consequences. They will then be able to react quickly and avoid catastrophe.

The world’s leading car manufacturers are currently using this technology to develop fully autonomous models. Which leads us on to our next smart technology…

Self-driving cars 

For a long time, we’ve been envisioning a world in which cars will be able to drive around by themselves. This idea once seemed futuristic and farfetched, but the tech is now being developed and tested by leading automotive companies such as Audi. Similar to the idea behind inter-car communication, self-driving cars are set to reduce the risk of human error on the road. The result? A safer and more reliable way to travel. The Google Self-Driving Car project was initiated in 2009 and has since been rebranded as Waymo. After ordering a Waymo on an app, a self-driving car will pick you up and take you where you need to be — a journey which promises to be both extremely safe and very comfortable. The idea behind Waymo is that you can ‘ride with confidence’ and these vehicles have been branded as ‘the most experienced drivers’. Embracing self-driving cars feels like taking a leap of faith, but in the next few years, this tech is likely to feel much more common place. 

Automated parking systems 

Finally, for those who are tired of searching for a parking space to riskily squeeze into, let us introduce automated parking systems. Parktronic systems that allow cars to find parking spaces and navigate to them already exist, but with new infrastructure around automated parking systems forecasted, the future looks bright for those who hate parking. This infrastructure will allow passengers to drop off the car at the entrance to a garage, allowing it to venture off and find its own parking space. And when you’re ready to be reunited with your wheels? A simple tap on an app will signal to your car that it’s time to journey back to the drop-off point. 

Some of these innovations may seem straight out of science fiction, but every day we are inching nearer to a world in which smart technology drives cars by itself. It may take some getting used to, but our future roads are set to be safer than ever!

Sources

https://thewiredshopper.com/7-mind-blowing-smart-car-technologies-that-will-hit-the-road-soon/

https://www.germanautolabs.com/blog/5-future-smart-car-technologies-youll-love

https://waymo.com/

RAC Advance, now with integrated dashcam

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By RAC

RAC Advance combines market-leading technology with a level of service that provides complete peace of mind for the driver and fleet manager.

The telematics unit includes patented crash detection technology, tested by the Transport Research Laboratory, giving a 92% accuracy result, eliminating false positives even at low speed.

By monitoring both acceleration and vibration signatures at the point of an incident, RAC Advance is able to identify whether a crash has, or hasn’t, taken place with a 92% certainty.

Our highly accurate crash detection certainty is market leading, especially when compared to the industry standard of 50%. It also means you’ll receive an accurate FNOL (first notification of loss) report of an incident within minutes, detailing the speed, location, impact and severity.

The RAC is now making this an even more powerful fleet tool with the introduction of the integrated dashcam. Footage from the dashcam synced with the telematics unit provides a 100 per cent accurate report enabling speedy liability decisions.

Benefits to fleets include:

  • Clear visibility of the incident
  • Speedy liability decisions 
  • Early intervention
  • Driver behaviour training 
  • Reduced costs due to efficient claim process

Once you receive the FNOL report, you’ll be in complete control of the insurance claim, helping to speed up the claims process with the other insured party.

You’ll also be able to provide support to your driver quickly, especially if they are on their own when the incident occurs, improving your duty of care responsibilities. 

For businesses running a number of vehicles, RAC Advance will help you reduce business costs, boost driver safety, support the need to provide duty of care and improve customer service. All by installing a small box in your vehicles.

For more information contact Tracey Speke:

Mobile: 07773 035055

Email: tspeke@rac.co.uk

Or go to: https://www.rac.co.uk/business/telematics

The key innovations driving today’s mobile workforce into the future

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By Derek Bryan (pictured), Vice President EMEA, Verizon Connect

In a hyper competitive market, enterprises across every sector are looking for any advantage to get ahead of the competition and meet customers’ expectations. Innovation has become central to success, particularly for enterprises that rely on a mobile workforce. 

Mobile workforce management has come a long way since the days of simply tracking location over GPS, now it can be used to help connect organisational silos, boost operational efficiency, improve safety and deliver better customer service. In this piece, I will look at the technologies that are driving the mobile workforce into the future and how will they help operations and fleet managers.

Data processing enables further automation

Computer processing through algorithms or machine learning, and data storage advances have opened up possibilities that seemed unimaginable even just a few years ago. For example, an autonomous vehicle collects and analyses more than a terabyte of data in real time, each day. This ability to collect, analyse and process reams of data has spawned on demand services enable us to watch TV, stream music, order a taxi, or book a hotel room on our phones or online almost instantly – and it has increased expectations of what should be possible for both consumers and mobile workers.

With additional processing power, managers can look at multiple data sources to gain bigger samples or correlate different data sets to provide more detailed information. At the same time, greater processing creates new ways to make extra data easier for people to understand and even automate tasks. This will advance even further as the industry harnesses the ability to collect more contextually relevant data from a combination of devices such as vehicle, mobile devices and other internet enabled sensors. 

Mobile workers could soon expect a frictionless experience, where they no longer need to manually input data or provide an update a manager while performing a task, while managers will automatically gain valuable insights to improve decision making. For example, imagine you had a worker in the field who was installing a satellite dish for a customer. If the installation was taking longer than expected, contextual data collection and analysis would be able to determine this automatically and assign their next job to another field service worker or communicate an accurate expected arrival time to the next customer – all without intervention from the worker, or manager.

Vehicles gain more computing power

Much has been made of potential of the autonomous vehicle. While their widespread adoption may be some time off, the computing power of non-autonomous vehicles is growing significantly. Vehicles are now capable of reporting more information to managers than ever before. From engine diagnostic details such as temperature, oil or fuel levels, and wear and tear on parts, to things inside the vehicle such as seatbelt use, number of passengers to even what was on the radio. 

This enables more effective management of vehicles. Managers can foresee any potential engine troubles, and schedule vehicle maintenance before they occur. Or they could gain other insights that could help employee safety or wellbeing and improve customer satisfaction. For example, if a vehicle’s engine is not switched on it’s a fairly safe bet, the driver may be delayed – which can be automatically communicated to customers or other workers. Or if the vehicle’s heater is constantly on, managers could provide better uniforms to help drivers stay warm, avoid getting sick and reduce fuel consumption.

The power of voice

The rapid take-up of voice recognition technology shows how far the software has come. While it used to be rather unreliable, voice dictation is beginning to replace typing in online queries. Twenty percent of mobile queries were made via voice in 2016, while accuracy is now about 95 percent. Improved voice recognition is a powerful tool for the mobile worker, enabling hands free input of data, activation of tasks and communication with managers. It means that mobile workers can do their job more effectively, without having to take their eyes of the task at hand. This is especially useful in the fleet space – creating a better, safer field working experience.

Communication from field to office becomes more visual

Years ago, the concept of streaming films, TV or live sporting events in high definition over the internet didn’t seem possible. But through improved connectivity and video compression technology, we can create more visually led communications between mobile workers and the office. Visual sensors between the office and the mobile worker can enable more effective service – enabling remote diagnostic detection or instruction from a manager. For example, an engineer working on a site could use video to remotely consult with someone office to find an appropriate solution, rather than having to leave the site or send another worker out.

Concluding thoughts

Mobile and field-working will continue to be improved by the technology. The best deployment of tech will reduce the burden on staff, rather than adding to the workload. For workers technology will make life easier, requiring less intervention and creating a frictionless process for reporting back to the office. For managers, technology will give increased visibility on how their field workers are performing. There is seemingly no limit to what data can be collected correlated and analysed to help to improve how the organisation is run, making it safer, more profitable and more enjoyable.

Battle for vehicle tech intensifies as digital giants wade into market

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Europe was the most active autotech M&A market in 2018 with 39% of deal activity, ahead of North America and APAC, yet accounted for only 7% of total global M&A transaction value.

The latest research from GP Bullhound reveals M&A activity in autotech across Europe, Asia and North America has steadily increased in the last few years, reaching a record 166 transactions in 2018, up from 144 the previous year.

Though Europe is the most active market worldwide for M&A transactions, Asia Pacific and North America lead in terms of deal value – with 72% and 21%, respectively.

The total global autotech fundraising value increased by 293% to €27bn over the past five years,

Sven Raeymaekers, Partner at GP Bullhound, said: “Europe’s autotech sector has been growing from strength to strength in the last few years, and the figures in our report attest to significant innovation and investment across the continent. The next challenge for Europe’s autotech firms will be to achieve scale in order to compete with the biggest players in the industry. The difficulty so far is that European autotech companies struggle to get the same level of funding as their competitors in APAC and North America.”

The report also reveals that technology giants such as Google, Intel, Tesla and Uber are challenging established automotive firms when it comes to innovation in autonomous driving, connected cars, electric vehicles, and shared mobility solutions.

With Tesla on track to outsell both BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the US and several global automakers issuing recent profit warnings, GP Bullhound says the automotive industry is facing unprecedented disruption from emerging and established technology firms keen for a slice of the action.

Guillaume Bonneton, Partner at GP Bullhound, added: “A battle is emerging between global tech giants and the traditional automobile manufacturers. The tech giants have an advantage in terms of total resources available, but do not rule out the OEMs as they are pouring significant levels of investment into the four key sectors highlighted in our report. Combined with the existing levels of trust they have from consumers, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.”

The report considers four key trends set to significantly reshape the automotive sector over the next ten to fifteen years: shared mobility, electrification, autonomy and connectivity.

Autonomy looks set to catch up to shared mobility as the most disruptive sector with the greatest increase in transaction value from €0.2bn in 2014, to €8bn in 2018 and an average transaction value of €70m, just below level of shared mobility on €75m which has dominated since 2014. This came as shared mobility declined from €17bn in 2017, to €8bn last year.

Looking ahead, the report identifies micro-mobility – bike, scooter and mopeds-sharing– as a fast-growth area, with deal activity in bike-scooter sharing increasing from $14m in 2015 to $3.5bn by the end of 2018.