Virgin Atlantic signs on telematics to improve fleet efficiency

Even though Virgin Atlantic might be a company more well known for its pilots than its drivers, the actual air-plane aspect of the firm is just a small part of it. Each time a plane gets off of the ground, it’s thanks to the efforts of many more support staff that help it do so and many of them drive vehicles. Whether it’s the steps for passengers to board the plane, the flexible tunnel system to bring them to the run way, the baggage handlers, all of them drive something around, which means that telematics can make their journeys more efficient. Hence, Virgin’s latest technological addition to its fleets.

The company Virgin Atlantic went with for its fleet tracking system, was Navman Wireless. It will provide not only the hardware to keep an eye on the different aspects of the vehicles, but the back end tracking systems too, which Virgin’s fleet manager can use to monitor everything about it. The big focus will be on cutting back fuel usage and reducing CO2 emissions, so things like journey efficiency, out of hours usage and vehicle idling will face serious focus, however drive behaviour will also get a look in. If for whatever reason, drivers are accelerating too sharply or making big looping journeys because it’s a more fun way to drive the support vehicles, Virgin may put a stop to it.

Support vehicles come in all shapes and sizes

Support vehicles come in all shapes and sizes

“We are very proud and excited to be working with Virgin Atlantic Airways to assist in its continuing objective,” said Scott Hutchins, Navman Wireless VP sales UK and Ireland, referencing Virgin’s announced plans to reduce its carbon footprint at all of its connected airports around the world.

It may well be that telematics end up as more of a stop gap technology than anything else though, as the sort of high-risk environment like airports, where security is paramount, may be more suited to driverless vehicles in the future. With a combination of electric power and solar panel charging stations, it’s possible that the CO2 output of all airport vehicles may one day be reduced to zero.

However in the mean time, cutting back on all of the fuel wasting activities that drivers are known to take part in is a good step. It will be interesting to see if this begins a trend that leads to other airlines catching on and cutting back on their own fuel usage.

Image source: Geograph, Wikimedia

    Jon Martindale

    Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.

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