SmartDrive, a leading innovator in video-based safety intelligence systems for trucks, has developed technology patented in June 2020 for alerting drivers to situations where they might be speeding for conditions and where they might need help while parked in "sitting duck" situations.
The two new offerings are appropriately named SmartSense for Speeding for Conditions, and SmartSense for Sitting Duck.
They are included as new options with the SmartDrive portfolio of technologies that are currently being employed by some of the largest carriers today – including Swift Transportation (see below).
Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive, touts the new technology. “With insurance premiums, nuclear verdicts and everyday driving risks skyrocketing, fleets must be able to identify hidden dangers and proactively address them,” he said in a SmartDrive news release.
“When the country’s leading fleets came to us with these concerns, we knew we had to challenge the status quo to find a solution. Building on our track record of technology innovation, we’ve developed two new features to alert drivers concerning weather and safe parking. We know these solutions will not only save fleets money but, more importantly, save lives.”
SmartDrive connects to a truck's existing telematics messaging system adding purpose-built sensors that include computer vision, engine telematics and accelerometer data geared toward enabling the technology to access levels of risk and to mitigate collisions – sort of like lane-change warnings on steroids.
This is not an autonomous vehicle implementation. The changes necessary to avoid collisions, etc., still need to be made by an alert driver, but the system gives the driver a forward-looking view of situations in their early development.
SmartSense for Speeding Conditions
SmartDrive notes that driving too fast for changing road conditions because of weather accounts for 23 percent of truck crashes. And the chances of a nuclear verdict as the result of a crash increase dramatically during adverse weather conditions.
SmartSense for Speeding for Conditions addresses these challenges by:
Measuring vehicle speed vs. a recommended, or fleet-specified, standard for safe driving in inclement weather conditions
Providing real-time data to assess the severity of driving too fast for conditions – particularly in fog, rain, or snow
Alerting drivers of the risks within minutes and recommending the appropriate speed for the conditions
“From tropical storms and tornado warnings to icy roads and flooding, weather changes quickly and is normally very local in nature. As a result, commercial drivers often must deal with less than ideal conditions as they ensure essential goods are delivered,” commented Brett Sant, senior vice president, safety and risk management, Knight-Swift Transportation.
“SmartSense for Speeding for Conditions allows us to proactively notify and remind drivers of these fast-changing weather conditions, and recommend safe driving practices to help ensure they are operating safely in these changing environments. As a result, we have more drivers adapting safely and proactively to challenging weather conditions.”
Photo by David Wickenhauser -- Author takes a 10 in a remote location outside a Nestle Purina plant south of Bakersfield in what felt very much like a "sitting duck" situation.
SmartSense for Sitting Duck
"Sitting Duck" pretty accurately describes the situations that drivers often face when parked on the side of the road on a crowded highways because of a breakdown, or because of having to take a 10 in a sketchy neighborhood because a grocery DC ran them out of hours.
SmartSense's Sitting Duck features technologies that:
Detects and reports vehicles that have stopped, parked, or stalled in a potentially hazardous location
Provides real-time data to assess the incident so immediate, corrective action can be taken
Delivers video insight into why and where the driver is stopped or parked
“Many times, drivers find themselves in circumstances where they need mechanical assistance or need to stop in a heavily-traveled area,” commented Knight-Swift’s Sant.
“SmartSense for Sitting Duck technology helps us protect our drivers by alerting management that they may need help. We can then quickly advise our driver on how to handle the situation and, if necessary, provide support – or send assistance – and get them back on the road safely.”
How SmartSense works
The new features are incorporated into SmartDrive's Transportation Intelligence Platform.
"This enables drivers to get alerts prior to entering an area impacted by weather so they can slow down for conditions and alerts those parked longer than necessary to contact dispatch," the company says.
Because the system does not take over autonomously a driver must still react to the information provided by the system. However, notifications are triggered if corrective action is not taken, and fleet managers can view the "interactive dashboard" in real time and indentify when they need to intervene.
“Thanks to our open, extensible platform architecture, SmartDrive is positioned to combine data from multiple sources—the operating environment, driver behavior and vehicle diagnostics—and deliver actionable insights that improve fleet safety and efficiency,” said Mitgang.
“These patented, leading-edge capabilities are the latest example of how we are leveraging the unparalleled compute-power of our system to innovate today’s most advanced video-based safety capabilities.”
Swift adopts SmartDrive Systems
Swift Transportation, part of Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings, is installing the SmartDrive video-based safety system in its entire fleet of vehicles in the United States and Mexico.
With the merger of the two mega carriers, and with Swift now adopting the SmartDrive platform, it means that the system will now be deployed on roughly 19,300 Knight-Swift tractors, joining hundreds of fleets that have implemented the system over the years.
“Knight Transportation has experienced meaningful reductions in collision rates since installing SmartDrive in its fleet," said Knight-Swift's Brett Sant.
"That experience was instructive in the decision, ultimately, to roll out the SmartDrive program within our Swift fleets," Sant concluded.
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