Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology already available to fleets could predict almost half of the vehicle breakdowns that occur, according to fleet management technology provider Epyx.

Epyx also say that the technology creates cost management opportunities and improves operational efficiencies for fleets.

The company ran two projects based around its 1link Service Network platform, which is used by fleets to manage service, maintenance and repair (SMR) for more than 4 million company cars, vans and trucks. It has shown the ‘considerable capabilities' of AI but also some drawbacks.

The problems include data quality, obtaining time-sensitive data and building processes that can handle large streams of information and events in real time. The processing power needed for fleet AI to work effectively is another major challenge.  

“In this context, AI is about using machine learning to examine data so that models can be built that make inferences and identify patterns that are useful in meeting objectives,” said Andy Partridge, technology delivery director at Epyx and R2C.

“That makes it potentially very useful when it comes to fleet SMR and improving operational efficiencies for customers. When we first started looking at AI a few years ago, we quickly identified ways in which it could be used.

“Our two pilots assessed how the technology could potentially improve automated SMR authorisation rates and simplify rule management for maintenance controllers, something that produced promising results alongside some issues.

“Looking ahead, in an ideal scenario, AI would learn to identify points of failure on fleet cars, vans and trucks before they happened, meaning that we could steer the driver towards the nearest workshop that could help them before the breakdown occurred. This kind of pre-emptive action would obviously have huge value for fleets.”

The company is confident about the potential for AI products to be accessible to the fleet market in the not too distant future.