Envisioning Tomorrow’s Service Van

Google‘s driverless car may be getting all the attention these days, but it isn’t the only concept out there aiming to shape the vehicle of tomorrow. Here are a few articles from the SmartVan archives on what fleets may look like in a few years.

Self-Cleaning Vans: New industrial coatings are being tested that can keep dirty vehicles looking good without ever needing a scrub-down — and they may be able to self-repair little scratches and door dings. According to a report, “an occasional rain shower is all that’s needed to keep the car clean.” Read More.

Tweeting Vans: An Australian fleet management software company, PoolCar, is trying to develop a program that lets your van Tweet out diagnostic information, like its location, speed, and CO2 output, in real-time. No word on whether it’ll Tweet success rates of jobs it drives to. Read More.

Networked Vans: The University of Michigan is going through a yearlong test on 3,000 vehicles equipped with “vehicle-to-vehicle” Wi-Fi connections that transmit their location, speed, and direction. The hope is that these cars can “talk” to one another and avoid crashes. Read More.

Self-Inflating Tires: Aperia Technologies is already making a tool that claims to keep tires running at peak capacity. It has something to do with centrifugal force, we think.  Read More.

In-Cab Cameras: Need proof you didn’t blow through that stop sign? Want to see if your drivers are yakking on the phone while driving? An in-cab camera — already used widely in many taxi cabs and buses — could be the answer. (Alternately, your drivers might revolt.) Read More.

Speech-Recognition: Yes, just like KITT from Knight Rider. Or at least sort of like that. More like Siri, but in your van. Read More.

Telematics Affecting Insurance: Again, this is a trend we’re already seeing: Car-insurance providers offering discounts, or at least tailoring custom premiums, to fleet operators who install telematics equipment that can offer detailed driving behavior reports. Read More.

Goodbye, Petrol: Some of these technologies are already being adopted. Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles are already on the road — in fact, AT&T has made a big push. Electric vehicles are also becoming more popular, especially with companies like Via Motors able to swap out a petrol- powered engine with a custom-built electric drivetrain.

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Ian is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.