On this blog, we like to focus on the joys of cars. But, for many of us, vans are a way of life. They’re what allow us to make money, earn an income, and generally enjoy our lives. What’s more, we spend an enormous amount of time driving them around busy streets and narrow alleys. And so we’d like them to offer some high-tech features to keep us safe, entertained and secure, just like regular cars.
Strangely, though, you don’t hear a lot about the new tech coming to the van market. For the most part, vans are just seen as tools, not objects that deliver utility. And that’s a little odd when you think about it. After all, you wouldn’t spend eight hours a day in a car. But you would in a can.
Here’s some of the new tech coming to a van near you soon.
Embedded Voice Technology
Imagine if your van was a giant telephone that you could use to make calls, independent of your actual smartphone handset.
Well, that’s the idea behind vans equipped with the We-Connect app, deployed in the new VW Caddy. The vehicle comes paired with an integrated SIM card, allowing it to collect information and pipe it to a central server, via 4G phone networks. It means that you can not only make calls but also get a range of value-added services to boot.
For instance, the vehicle can automatically call for assistance if it detects that you’ve been involved in an accident, calling emergency services. It can also send notifications to your phone telling you where it’s parked – or where it is if criminals have stolen it.
It can even ping your phone if it detects criminals are trying to break in and steal your tools.
Refueling Location Marking
As you find out more about fuel suppliers, you soon realise that it is a serious logistical challenge. You have to liaise with companies manually, often telling them via phone your location and where you are.
But imagine if your van had a system that allowed it to independently send its location to fuel suppliers. That way, you could send refuelling instructions to colleagues, without having to actually talk to them on the phone, or tell them where the van was. Again, these new internet- and cloud-connected solutions make this possible.
Did you know that around 25 per cent of all motorway accidents are caused by over-tired drivers? It’s a massive issue and one that van companies are trying to solve.
Now, though, some are introducing systems that make it possible. Driver alert systems, for instance, carefully monitor the status of drivers, checking to see whether they have their eyes on the road or not. If they detect that the driver is losing concentration, they’ll issue an alert on the dashboard, telling them to pull over. It sounds like a small innovation, but it requires some very sophisticated machine learning technology. What’s more, it could save your life.