If there is one thing that big fleet operators seek is information on the use of its vehicles. Every trip a driver makes can reveal critical clues on vehicle use. Each time a vehicle leaves the barn and returns, the experience is subtly different.
Ford Telematics Grows By Trip
Every trip a driver makes reveals crucial information about the use of fleet vehicles. Often, the information obtained can provide insights that help to improve employee performance and vehicle health. Senior correspondent John Goreham looks at costs for the Mustang Mach-E versus the Tesla which is at the heart of Telematics.
Now, Ford to ensure that no vehicle gets left behind as the automaker expands Ford Telematics support to all makes and models.
This new capability, alongside new tools offered by Ford Telematics, gives businesses the flexibility they need to manage their fleets while better managing driver behavior, performance, and compliance goals.
"At Ford, our commitment to fleet customers goes beyond" their fleet mix, Alex Purdy, director of business operations, enterprise connectivity, Ford, said. "By supporting all makes and models, expanding the capabilities of Ford Telematics and providing complementary management tools, we're arming fleet managers with the knowledge they need to maintain uptime and increase productivity" across their fleets.
Ford Telematics Looks At All Vehicles
Using Ford Telematics, fleet operators can gather, view, and monitor data from all vehicles, regardless of manufacturer. With this expanded functionality, fleet managers can analyze all of their fleet vehicles using one easy-to-use dashboard. The dashboard will allow a manager to improve uptime, monitor performance, and plan maintenance.
Customers can leverage this capability on most non-Ford vehicles by using a plug-in device that connects to each vehicle with a wiring harness that leaves the OBD-II port available for use. This expanded functionality is part of the regular Ford Telematics subscription.
Customers can leverage this capability on most non-Ford vehicles by using a plug-in device that connects to each vehicle with a wiring harness that leaves the OBD II port available for use. Additionally, this expanded functionality is part of the regular subscription cost for Ford Telematics.
The ability to support all makes and models is the latest step Ford has taken to expand Ford Telematics. Fleet customers who deploy electric vehicles also have access to an electric vehicle telematics dashboard, which produces a broad range of electric-vehicle data. The data includes, for instance, web-based battery pre-conditioning that can assist in optimizing battery life.
Ford Telematics Enable Compliance
Ford has designed its Telematics program to help customers improve the management and performance of their fleets. The service continually introduces new features that do just that, including a fleet-wide driver behavior dashboard and individual driver scores that improve performance.
The driver behavior dashboard gives managers a survey of how their vehicles' performance provides information about trends involving such items as harsh braking or acceleration, speeds driving over posted limits, and/or fleet-set thresholds, seatbelt use, and idling time. A personal driver score also lets managers quickly see how specific drivers are doing, giving them opportunities to further coach their operators on best practices and areas which need improvement.
"Because there's so much data at our fingertips," Purdy emphasized, "it's critical to give fleet managers a clear and simple way to gain insight into their business. Ford Telematics gives managers an easy way to break down performance trip by trip, driver by driver, so they can focus on running a safe, productive fleet."
Ford Telematics includes severe incident notifications, such as letting fleet managers know when incidents have occurred that involved airbag deployment. Email and in-app alerts can relay information about the driver involved, the location of the incident, and the time it occurred.
Another set of notifications – misuse – lets managers know if there has been vehicle misuse. For example, Ford Telematics can create email, and in-app alerts can relay specifics about the driver involved, the crash location, and the time. Vehicle misuse notifications enable managers to set operating hours and receive notifications if vehicle misuse has occurred during off-hours.
Ford Telematrics Improve Uptime
With information as critical as it is to fleet operations, Ford Telematics is an excellent management tool. Ford's recognition of data's importance to fleet operations is one of the most critical reasons Ford has updated its Telematics Service and launched another service, Ford Telematics Essentials for Ford vehicles. It is a complimentary level service for commercial customers that will be available beginning in the second quarter.
Ford Telematics Essentials gives customers access to vehicle health insights such as odometer readings, diagnostic trouble codes, oil life information, engine hours, and recalls. Later this year, this complimentary service will let fleet managers digitally track and plan maintenance or repair services with local dealers.
Meanwhile, Ford Telematics continues to expand its feature offerings and the amount of data it can share with fleets about their vehicles. For example, Ford Telematics has added more than 3,800 diagnostic trouble codes. These codes help identify potential issues with vehicles. For instance, the codes alert customers, telling them whether they should take action immediately or wait.
Ford Telematics Uses Software Updates
Further bolstering Ford's mission to improve uptime for commercial fleets is the widespread adoption of over-the-air capability, beginning with the 2021 F-150 pickup. Vehicles equipped with this technology can receive updates and repairs wirelessly, reducing the need to visit a dealer for maintenance. These updates can be delivered in the background or scheduled by the driver at a convenient time. It creates another way of keeping fleet information and on the road.
Marc Stern has been an auto writer since 1971. It was a position that filled two boyhood dreams: One that I would write, and two that I write about cars. When I took over as my newspaper's auto editor, I began a 32-year career as an automotive columnist. There isn't much on four wheels that I haven't driven or reviewed. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. Today, I am the Ford F150 reporter for Torque News. I write how-to and help columns for online sites such as Fixya.com and others. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Most of Marc's stories are part of Torque News Ford coverage. Check back again and search for Torque News Ford F-150 news for more F-150 truck news coverage.