Interviews
16 Sep 21

Ridecell: "Digitalization is the next step for fleet management"

Surely, one of the most important aspects of fleet management is to reduce costs through better use of data. According to Kenneth Malmberg, Director of Market Development and Alliances of Ridecell, the use of data in fleet management is too basic, hindering the potential of the data that is gathered from vehicles. 

We asked Malmberg how to improve the fundamental needs of fleet management through automation and how it can help fleets better adapt to electrification. 

Join the 2021 Connected Fleets Conference during which Kenneth Malmberg, Senior Director, Market Development and Alliances of Ridecell will explain how IoT Fleet Automation will digitalize fleets and improve fleet operations at 14:30 p.m CET.

How does connectivity support fleet automation? 

In the last 5-6 years we have seen embedded connectivity coming from the OEMs with the use of APIs. Connected vehicles transmit more data, so we have fleet management systems to analyze them. If you look at fleet management systems today, what they are being used for 90% of the time is track and trace. You look for where your vehicles are and also do some measures like fuel consumption. Because even though this is not spoken, fuel theft by drivers is a big problem for large fleets. You can also track idle time and driver behaviour to see the impact on fuel economy and wear and tear. But there’s more data to be retrieved. Today, the fleet managers look at data on the dashboard and create periodic reports. So, fleet management is a kind of control system to see the condition of your fleet. But fleet management in general is too inefficient. Fleet automation comes in as complementary to fleet management systems. Fleet automation can take the data directly from the vehicle.  Depending on what that data tells you, the interpretation shows you what exactly the diagnostic means and what might be wrong with the vehicle. Recommendations provided by algorithms can go as far as creating a job package according to what needs to be done with the vehicle.

Is fleet automation at the beginning or already an important part of fleet management?

We are at the beginning of it. As we were saying, the connected vehicles have been with us for many years. But only a fraction of the fleets are connected. We are now in an era in the last six years where better connectivity is provided by OEMs also, the telematics hardware is coming down to a price level to the benefit of your fleets. We also have of course data coming from the embedded connectivity of OEMs. With the number of increasingly connected vehicles, fleet management systems also increase. What is essential is to turn the data into intelligence through automation for a large part of the maintenance process. But this capability is largely lacking today. This is what we can do with Ridecell. We are not a fleet management system, we actually complement the fleet management systems. 

What's your vision regarding connectivity for more intelligent mobility?  

Our platform is a result of 10 years of development and we formed this platform with major global players. So our roots are deep in shared mobility. If you look at the share of mobility it is the most digitized fleet management operation, from how you open the door with a smartphone to how you operate your fleet. If you look at large fleets, no one is coming to this level of digitalization. With our knowledge and technology, we can bring this in and enable different use cases. In consumer car sharing you can get in the car today with a digital key. That concept can also be applied to other industries. Delivery vehicles need to run at least 16 hours a day to deliver packages. You can't do that with one driver. There's a more efficient use of the resources with the technology you can share the vehicles between professional drivers without having a physical key handover. So that also helps you to optimize your fleet by having less downtime between shifts. You can also allocate a car a night before so the driver can park the car at a location for the other driver to pick it up. Optimizing the use of commercial vehicles will save a lot of money. 

What is your vision on connected technology for fleet electrification and fleet mobility? 

I think it's making it acceptable. A large proportion of drivers are still sceptical about EVs. We use data to understand the range of the vehicle and where it can be charged. The data will also determine what charging strategy you need. Some of our customers, for instance, only charge their cars to 80%. During that time they do the maintenance. Because charging up to 100% takes longer, but 80% gives you more efficiency. So these are the things you can see only through connectivity. I think connectivity and sharing in a corporate environment is a very good entry point for EVs. 

Why do you think the Fleet Europe community shall attend the conference?

We can help any fleet to digitize their operations and they can optimize the use and the maintenance of their fleets. Fleet automation is critical. It also includes controlling the access to vehicles and security. Under certain regulations and guidelines, we can provide all aspects of security and safety, eventually optimizing fleet operations. Ridecell helps fleets increase efficiency and decrease their liability on different areas of savings.

Photo of Kenneth Malmberg, Director of Market Development and Alliances of Ridecell, courtesy of Ridecell.

Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen
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