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Geotab launches new fleet car sharing platform

Date: 15 October 2020   |   Author: Sean Keywood

A new platform designed to help fleets with car sharing has been launched by telematics company Geotab.

The new Geotab Keyless platform is said to work with any vehicle that has a key fob, and provide fleets with access to data and services including asset accounting, suitability analysis for corporate car sharing, vehicle management automation, and remote vehicle management.

Once a vehicle's key fob is embedded into Geotab's hardware, drivers are able to lock, unlock and start the vehicle using their smartphone.

Geotab says fleets wanting to implement the platform can either pair it with third-party vehicle reservation software of their choice, or create their own reservation software using Geotab's APIs.

For Geotab, enabling car sharing for fleets is a way to help them get more out of each of their vehicles, and therefore save money.

Geotab business development manager Fabian Seithel said: "Corporates are under cost pressure on the fleet side, and actually reducing the number of assets is one of the smartest ways to cut costs. 

"Vehicles are often underutilised assets, so using assets in a more efficient manner, cutting the amount of vehicles, gives you a cost saving right away."

Geotab VP for electric vehicles Christopher Mendes said: "We are proud to be the first fully-featured telematics provider bringing a unique data-driven, keyless solution to the burgeoning car sharing market.

"Geotab Keyless is designed to enhance car sharing across every segment, including in-car delivery services in the future. 

"Keyless is particularly advantageous for electric vehicle car sharing fleets, as the solution can reliably manage vehicles' state of charge, charging status and range remaining - a capability no other keyless hardware competitor possesses."

For Geotab, the crucial element in developing successful car sharing technology is handling the relevant data.

Mendes said: "The most important feature for sharing is locking and unlocking vehicles. But it's actually only a small technical hurdle. 

"The bulk of the engineering work to make car sharing work in practice has to do with data. Figuring out what the odometer [reading] is, when trips are starting and when they are ending, having very accurate location of the vehicles, and then having an ecosystem of other data sources that can plug in to that. 

"[Car sharing] vehicles need even more management from a central entity, and so automating that management using data is really one of the most critical parts."

Seithel explained that fleet management was more important with a shared fleet, since with cars not being allocated to a single company car user, drivers who used them were less likely to take responsibility for dealing with issues.

He said: "We think that fleet sharing without managing the fleet efficiently, taking advantage of the engine data, cannot work. 

"Because nobody feels responsible if an engine light comes up, if a vehicle is not being charged. That responsibility is not being taken by one person anymore, but by the entire operation, so the data aspect is front and centre with sharing technology."

For Geotab, it's the proper use of data that's the key to taking car sharing mainstream.

Seithel said: "Car sharing and fleet sharing has been there before, but really the scalability, [to bring it from] a niche market to a mass market, is the bit that we have been observing is a missing technology. 

"Fleet sharing is not a future aspiration, it is happening, and we at Geotab really think we can be an enabler to make [increased adoption] happen, in Europe and globally."