Friday 24th May 2019

Israel continues to generate a big piece of the fleet action

Published on January 22nd, 2019

The country has been the location of various digital fleet and driverless initiatives over the last couple of years. Antony Savvas looks at a new one that is aiming to make a big splash in the global fleet market, and another that sees a Russian web heavyweight dive into the Israeli driverless scene.

Israeli fleet management solutions firm ERM Advanced Telematics, whose technologies are installed in more than 5 million vehicles worldwide, is now targeting the global car-sharing market.

According to research from Global Market Insights, the global car-sharing market is expected to reach the US$11 billion (€9.67 billion) mark by 2024. The size of car-sharing fleets and the number of subscribers worldwide is expected to increase on average at a 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) by 2024.

Reducing fleet costs

American Automobile Association (AAA) figures estimate the average annual maintenance cost of a car-sharing vehicle is $8,700 (€7652), so companies in the market will undoubtedly want to get this figure down, and ERM is aiming to help them.

ERM is supplying car-sharing companies with telematics products from its StarLink products line, with optional add-on features and required adjustments around wireless communications technologies like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and RF.

As part of the solution ERM allows car-sharing companies to identify subscribers and permit them to drive a car at any given time. Moreover, ERM gives them the ability to control and immobilise a vehicle to prevent any unauthorised driver from using it.

Eitan Kirshenboim

A major requirement of car-sharing companies is to monitor how drivers actually use the vehicles. In this regard, ERM has developed an advanced driver behaviour monitoring solution that allows monitoring of both the vehicle and the driver’s activity during their use of the car. In order to add value, ERM supplies various additional audio and visual driver alerts to educate the driver during the trip.

“This allows headquarters of car-sharing companies to deal in a suitable way with unsafe drivers,” says the firm. The technology also enables customers to identify accidents when they happen and call emergency assistance in extreme scenarios.

There are various emergency button options that can be integrated onto the car’s original dashboard or as a separate button. And post-accident analysis is available via a blackbox technology that keeps the data prior to and after the accident, that can be uploaded to remote servers.

The need to manage fuel is also critical. ERM enables the remote reading of fuel status at any time, and can remind the driver to fill the tank when necessary and give them recommendations on petrol stations on their route. The technology can also detect fuel pilferage.

“Car-sharing companies operate in a high-risk environment,” said Eitan Kirshenboim, CMO at ERM Advanced Telematics. “Minimising these risks while creating a comfortable experience for the subscribers is vital. Each driver can be graded for future risk management.”

Self-driving cars

Another fleet development in Israel sees Yandex bringing its self-driving cars onto the country’s roads.The Russian web services firm has obtained permission from the Israeli Ministry of Transportation and Road Safety to operate its test vehicles in autonomous mode with a safety engineer in the driver’s seat.

Antony Savvas

“Following extensive public road testing in Russia and most recently in the US, this new location marks the third country where Yandex is testing its self-driving vehicles,” said Yandex. The firm said Israel was a leading tech hub with high-quality roads, with Israeli cities having a highly-developed infrastructure that makes the country an ideal location for testing.

Dmitry Polischuk, head of the Yandex Self-Driving Car project, says: “Our self-driving car is an amazing example of our achievements in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and we were proud to use it as a learning tool at Yandex’s Y-Data School in Tel Aviv.

“Israel is home to top IT professionals and many important autonomous vehicle partners. By operating our vehicle in Israel, we will be able to work more efficiently with these companies and with the local talent.”

Viva Las Vegas!

Yandex recently launched fully autonomous ride-hailing services in the tech-focused cities of Innopolis and Skolkovo. Between the two locations, Yandex self-driving vehicles have provided well over 2,000 passenger trips. The company has also tested its vehicles on the public roads of Las Vegas, Nevada and it demonstrated the technology at this month’s CES show in the desert city.

Last month, it launched its ride-hailing service Yandex.Taxi in Gush Dan and several other regions of Israel under the new international brand Yango.

The author is freelance technology writer, Antony Savvas.

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