Solera: bringing intelligent fleet management solutions to Europe. Interview with VP Mark Tiana
The idea that lays behind the system is rather clear. Providing fleet managers, with a single source of data, all the information they need to retain drivers, reduce risk, and boost productivity. “We provide solutions directly to the industry – told us Mark Tiana – looking at the whole lifecycle of vehicles, either passenger cars or commercial vehicles”.
Solera digital fleet solutions, well-known and well-established especially in North America, are going to cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach Europe. The company’s participation in IAA Transportation made it possible to introduce them to the European market. Of course, with some important benefits in mind, such as improving fleet performance, safety and risk mitigation, as well as driver satisfaction. All this is made possible by the detection and analysis of data insights, also exploiting patented artificial intelligence algorithms, as Mark Tiana, VP Fleet Solutions Business at Solera, told us during a very pleasant chat we had in Hannover.
Fleet management solutions from Solera
The idea that lays behind the system is rather clear. Providing fleet managers, with a single source of data, all the information they need to retain drivers, reduce risk, and boost productivity. “We provide solutions directly to the industry – told us Mark Tiana – looking at the whole lifecycle of vehicles, either passenger cars or commercial vehicles”. Standing on the shoulders of a company with interests also in claims, vehicle repair and vehicle data, which relies on something like 300,000 customers in 120 countries worldwide and 7,000 employees working in the company’s HQ in the U.S., as well as in the local branches around the world.
Of course, at IAA 2022 the focus was on fleet management solutions for commercial vehicles. “There’s a lot of pressure in the commercial vehicle world, these days: from the increase of costs to driver shortage, up to the significant increase of the e-commerce business, which puts a lot of pressure on the transport world”, said Mr Tiana. “Relying on the expertise we have not only in North America, we’re launching three main solutions, namely Solera Mentor, Solera Protect and Solera Roadnet Anywhere”.
Solera fleet solutions package: three main pillars
Let’s start from the first one, Solera Mentor. What is it about?
“It is an app that helps customers, then fleet managers and drivers, reduce collisions, injuries, license violations, carbon emissions, and total cost of vehicle ownership through its patented, driver behavior-based safety programs. Firstly, improving driver behavior obviously reduces accidents. This may also reduce wearing time of the vehicle, non-working time, and optimize battery charging or fuel consumption. It may also increase driver satisfaction and reduce their stress when they go to work”.
We’re seeking to maximize efficiency no matter we talk about ICE or battery electric vehicles, but electrification can be a boost to our business due to the peculiarities of electric vehiclesMark Tiana, VP Fleet Solutions Business at Solera
Why is driver behavior so important in your strategy?
“Drivers are crucial, indeed. Our idea is that, instead of using the stick, let’s say, it’s possible to improve their behavior by giving them some small encouragements or positive feedbacks on e-learning, very short improving tips on how to improve driving behavior. We believe that small changes over a period of time may provide big benefits. Our solution is addressed to both drivers and fleet managers”.
How does the app work?
“The risks score is continuously updated. It’s possible to track the individual trips, not monitoring the driver, but rather the vehicle behavior. You can do the vehicle inspection or look at the trending, all fed back into the dashboard of the fleet manager. Besides, there’s an automatic crash detection that goes directly to a Bosch center and they take care of the emergency service”.
Number two: Solera Protect and artificial intelligence
What about Solera Protect. Is it related to vehicle (or driver) safety?
“With Solera Protect, we go to the next level. It’s a camera-based safety system that relies on a proprietary AI algorithm to monitor the driving not just from a data perspective, but also from a visual perspective. Let’s mention what happens outside the vehicle: if a vehicle is too close to the vehicle ahead, the camera detects it, and the system gives a warning. It’s possible to focus on speed, cornering, the eyes of the driver. All the information are sent back to the fleet manager, who can decide to provide coaching and so on”.
Could you please make an example?
“If I’m driving and I come to a sudden stop, the system detects whether the sudden stop is due to a wrong driver behavior or to something that happened on the street, like a kid running in front of the vehicle, for instance. The latter is a positive situation and then it would be fair to reward the driver, instead of warning him”.
The system goes quite a lot into details, we see. How can fleet managers take care of so many details about their vehicles and drivers? Isn’t it too much for them?
“Fleet managers do not have the time to look at all the information they can get, you’re right. That’s why the system is capable to filter the information and provide only the relevant information for them. Let me clarify. If a driver has a good behavior, then the fleet manager doesn’t need to look after him. Everything is OK, there’s no point for him to review the good drivers. On the other hand, the system focuses on those drivers who need improvement and who require actions taken by the fleet manager in order to optimize their work”.
Drivers are crucial, indeed. Our idea is that, instead of using the stick, let’s say, it’s possible to improve their behavior by giving them some small encouragements or positive feedbacks on e-learningMark Tiana, VP Fleet Solutions Business at Solera
Solera Roadmar Anywhere
Here comes the third pillar, Solera Roadmap Anywhere.
“This solution focuses on route optimization, planning, dispatch and tracking. We take in and connect the ERP systems of the fleet managers, so we know what they are planning to do, what their vehicles can do in terms of loading capacity, range, type of drivers and so on. We take the planned orders and work out the most efficient ways to optimize fleets to manage the deliveries in the most efficient way.
If you look at it from a capacity perspective, you see fleet size can be reduced by 8-10% or higher. If you look at it the other way round, you can increase your fleet capacity by 10%, thus taking additional work, for instance. It’s a very comprehensive solution. We make about 1.3 billion routes per year with Solera Roadmap Anywhere”.
Let me make a final question. Can electrification act as a boost and make these products and services more attractive?
“Absolutely. We’re seeking to maximize efficiency no matter we talk about ICE or battery electric vehicles, but electrification can be a boost to our business due to the peculiarities of electric vehicles. With ICE vehicles, it’s mostly about costs reduction. On the other hand, users of electric vehicles want to increase the delivery cycles in order to make a better use of their vehicles, also considering the range”.