Beyond Fleet Telematics: Video Keeps an Eye on Fleet Driver Safety
Video monitoring of driver behavior is adding a new level of awareness to help enhance driver safety, and potentially save companies money.
The deployment of connected cameras and video analytics platforms comes as many large U.S. fleets comply with federal regulations to deploy electronic logging devices. ELDs aim to track drivers’ on-road hours in the name of safety to keep them from spending too many hours driving and risking fatigue.
Concurrent with ELD adoption, fleet companies also started to deploy more fleet-telematics–based IoT-connected devices in and around their vehicles in pursuit of applications like asset tracking and cold chain logistics. Putting more video cameras inside cabs and other places on fleet vehicles may be the next natural step.
Bringing Video to Telematics
“Video analytics [applied to] the fleet driver is an emerging application for IoT,” said Thomas Fuerst, head of marketing for Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid, a global managed IoT network. Fuerst added that video analytics is “a next-level thing that we think we might see more of in the future.”
As with the ELD mandate, safety is the ultimate goal, and in some cases, video systems can complement ELDs.
For some fleet and logistics firms, ELD provided a gateway for a variety of fleet telematics applications. “Since the ELD mandate went into effect, every truck now has this device in it with the ability to do compliance, but also can lead you into more safety monitoring, and can be used to help drive fleet efficiency,” said John Sears, senior data science manager at Keep Truckin. “Now, with these devices in all the cabs, companies like us can drive solutions way beyond compliance with federal regulations.”
Safety programs are nothing new among fleet transportation and logistics companies. Still, the evolution of IoT technology and the broad movement among these companies to meet the ELD mandate had the effect of “catalyzing” efforts to protect driver safety, Sears said.
Among technology companies serving the fleet sector, much of that innovation has been around video. In particular, such vendors are working to develop various kinds of road-facing and cab-facing cameras. They are also developing cameras intended to be placed elsewhere on fleet vehicles. In the near future, cameras could record a range of incidents. Examples include hard-braking, collisions and near-collisions, and traffic conditions and potential violations. In short, video is becoming a more prevalent aspect of fleet telematics and could be used to monitor the overall status of various vehicle operations.
“What drove ELDs is also what drives video telematics – safety,” said Michael Phillippi, vice president of technology at Lytx.
“With ELD you’re trying to capture the driver’s hours of service, and with telematics, you’re trying to capture collisions, near collisions and other events,” Phillippi said. Lytx offers a DriveCam system that records video from vehicle cameras and sensors and processes it. The company provides fleet companies with analytics and insights they can leverage in their safety programs.