In a not insignificant number of cases, commercial vehicles have accidents within a minute of leaving the yard – e.g., as quickly as the next STOP sign when a distracted driver ran through. Given that, the premium fleets place on recording every second of the video when the vehicle is in motion is understandable. Even acknowledging the fact that advanced video telematics, with its accident-mitigating real-time alerts and actionable insights into driver behavior, is changing the paradigm around video-based safety systems, the fundamental use-case of having reliable access to the recorded video for every instant of a trip remains paramount.
As advanced video telematics expands, both across sectors and geographies, there are new use-cases that are coming up as well, forcing a re-think of the entire experience around dash cam installation itself. Traditionally, fleets have been willing to get dash cams professionally installed with a connection to the fuse-box (ACC, B+, and GND connections). The expansion into sectors like vocational, ridesharing, etc., has placed a high premium placed on easy self-installation by drivers themselves – a plug-and-play paradigm more aligned towards a consumer-like experience, which OBD cable-based powering with motion-based activation provides.
RideView, being the platform of choice for leading Telematics Service Providers (TSP) globally, has an end-user base that spans the spectrum of over the road (OTR), K-12, ridesharing, and more. Our constant responsibility is therefore to enhance existing use-cases and build experiences that support evolving needs. Today, we are happy to announce two extensions to the RideView platform:
- Improve the dash cam boot-up (and video recording start) time by an order of magnitude
- Significantly enhance the ease of installation through support for motion-based activation/deactivation
The wake-up time for a dash cam is essentially a function of the time it takes for the device to boot up from the cold, and activate the cameras, GPS, and other sensors needed to start recording video and associated meta-data. While RideView supported dash cams optimize the cold start-up time as do the RideView based device applications, the fundamental constraints around booting up the underlying OS remain. This meant that on average devices would take around 30 seconds to boot up, with 7-10 additional seconds to initialize the device application to start video recording and other processing. However remote the possibility, end-users had to reconcile with the fact that they needed to wait 40 seconds after ignition to have reliable access to video in case of accidents.
That changes with the support for sleep/parking mode on supported dash cams on the RideView platform. Instead of stopping the device application and shutting down the device after ignition OFF, the device application turns off all non-essential processing and stays awake, while the OS goes into ‘sleep’ drawing minimal current from the vehicle’s battery. The highlights of this feature are:
- The current draw when the device is on a trip is between 250 – 300 mA*, and < 5 mA when in sleep mode. For reference, most commercial vehicles have a battery capacity of at least 70000 mAh.
- TSPs and fleets get the option of configuring sleep mode (ON by default). Fleets that have vehicles that are inactive for a long duration can choose to disable sleep mode (even though the current draw is negligible enough to be a concern over even extended periods of time).
- The device enters sleep based either on the ignition OFF signal or motion-based deactivation on supported devices (ref. below). The time for devices to enter sleep mode after ignition OFF is configurable, and can be set appropriately in a range between 1 and 20 minutes to allow for the device to upload all data from previous trips before entering into sleep.
- In sleep mode, the RideView device application turns off access to all cameras, g-sensors, and the LTE module, with the exception of devices that support motion-based activation. In such devices, the g-sensor is monitored for activity even during sleep.
- Device wake-up from sleep is either through the ignition ON signal or through motion-based activation on supported devices. The average wake-up time is < 2 seconds, with trip and video recording starting in under 10 seconds on average.
* Numbers specific to the Gemini K245 dash cam, but are similar for other supported devices.
Dash cams have always provided a variety of powering options – from fuse-box connections (typically preferred by commercial fleets) to OBD or cigarette-lighter port-based power supplies for consumer dash cams where self-installation is the norm. The market for advanced video telematics having expanded beyond enterprise fleets to segments like vocational fleets and ridesharing, ease of installation/uninstallation/transfer have become key factors in a fleet’s choice of a dash cam. OBD cables for power are a standard option on most fleet dash cams, but the key enabler of real plug-and-play experience is the reliable detection of vehicle motion in the absence of a separate ignition wire (as is standard for fuse-box connections).
To enable OBD cable-only installations (without the need of a separate ignition wire connection) RideView based device applications can now start and stop trips based on motion detection. A pre-configured threshold for motion-based activation is set, which acts as a substitute for the traditional ignition ON signal. This G-sensor threshold is set at an appropriate value (accounting for a wide variety of commercial vehicles) such that a trip gets activated only when the vehicle’s engine is turned on, and engine vibrations are correspondingly reflected in the G-sensor values. Conversely, when the vehicle has stopped and ignition is turned OFF, the G-sensor values are monitored for a duration of 120 seconds to ensure a trip has stopped (equivalent to the traditional ignition OFF signal).
The combination of OBD power, motion-based activation, and easy-to-use companion apps for drivers and installers with step-by-step guidance mean that a fleet can avoid expensive and time-consuming installation and make the entire dash cam setup process a self-serve one. For fleets with a rotating cast of temp workers, interchangeable vehicles, and all other sorts of real-world complexities, deploying a video telematics solution just got easier.
As evident above, the evolution of RideView as a 360-degree software platform for video telematics encompasses all touchpoints of a fleet’s interaction with an advanced video telematics solution – from the choice of hardware and its seamless installation to the fleet manager and driver experience across web portals and mobile apps. The seamless interplay of all these aspects is what makes RideView the platform of choice for leading TSPs globally, and a responsibility we don’t take lightly by constantly innovating on even seemingly minor aspects of the user experience. Talk to us to learn more about our dash cam options, and find one that meets your unique needs.