Beyond Fleet Telematics: Video Keeps an Eye on Fleet Driver Safety
“For some companies, what drives [fleet companies’ use of data collection] is a desire to maintain a safety record. For some, their insurers have special programs if they have data on safety improvements. There are operational improvements you could be making as well from the captured video.”
The Lytx system is not an ELD. It is more focused on safety monitoring and other applications, although Phillippi said it could feed data to an ELD. KeepTruckin, meanwhile supports ELD compliance, but similar to Lytx, also offers a front-facing or dual-facing video system — SmartDashcam. That system can connect to the ELD and, triggered by events like hard-braking incidents, can record video of those events that can be played back or uploaded to a server for further analysis.
Adding Context to Road Events
The goal with devices like those supplied by Lytx and KeepTruckin is to add visual context to a road incident. Sensors on a fleet vehicle may have otherwise detected such events but without any notion of why or under what conditions the incident occurred.
“You get a more holistic view of what is really going on on the road,” Sears said. The captured video can be combined with ELD data or other data, such as knowledge of the base rate for hard braking on a given road. “If you are mostly intra-city fleet driver, you are going to do more hard brakes,” Sears said. “To fairly and accurately determine why a specific incident occurs is why we’re adding more sensors and dashcams to fleet vehicles.”
Both Lytx and KeepTruckin find inspiration in sensor fusion. To quote a Lytx document on the topic, sensor fusion “combines sensor data from multiple sources in a way that provides better information than would be possible if these sources were used individually.”
“Imagine data streaming off the vehicle or other systems on the vehicle, and you can tag video from these, and go back and search for the tag you are looking for,” Phillippi said. “Conceptually, you have all of these streams of data, and you can start matching them up to provide analytics for safety, operational improvement, management of customer complaints and a lot of other things.”
Sears added, “Data is just a reflection of what is going on in the real world. Sensor fusion brings together concurrent data points from the ELD, the Smart Dashcam, the trailer tracker, the truck’s refrigerator monitor, the tire gauges and other sources to try to reconstruct events. “As a safety manager, you can replay the event and watch in context to see what the driver’s reaction was. Maybe in hard-braking, the driver made a safe decision.”
Managing Insurance Costs, Claims
Having such a comprehensive view of road incidents, as well as driver behavior just before and in response to these incidents, can help fleet companies. In particular, it can help them figure out if their drivers need coaching on how to deal with specific road incidents. However, the video data can assist fleet companies in managing insurance costs and claims.