Artificial intelligence (AI) could predict nearly half of all fleet breakdowns and improve operational efficiencies - but obstacles remain, according to tech firm epyx.

It said two projects it had worked on, plus research from its customers had shown the “considerable capabilities” of AI.

Andy Partridge, technology delivery director at epyx, said: “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.

“That makes it potentially very useful when it comes to fleet SMR and improving operational efficiencies for customers.”

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Partridge said its projects based around epyx’s 1link Service Network platform, which is used by fleets to manage service, maintenance and repair for more than four million company cars, vans and trucks revealed just how powerful AI could be.
“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,” he said.

“This kind of pre-emptive action would obviously have huge value for fleets.

But hurdles remain. Partridge explained that the quality of data needed to be high or else the inferences made were of limited use or worse, introduced biases.

The availability of connected vehicle data was also a challenge and he added: “The processing power needed for fleet AI to work in real time is considerable and traditional server arrangements are generally not up to the task. This means transferring fleet data to locations where more advanced computing is available in the cloud.”