The Current State of Video Telematics
“There is an alligator on the right lane,” says a truck driver through the CB radio. In trucking lingo alligator is used to describe a piece of tire on the road to warn others about it.
From conversations on the radio for understanding the driver’s whereabouts to easily coaching drivers with data from video telematics, the industry has come a long way.
Video telematics today is widely used by commercial fleets, trucking industries, delivery companies, etc. It allows fleets to protect themselves from liability and exonerate drivers, improve safety and reduce accidents, coach drivers to become safer, reward and recognize good drivers and so much more. The benefits of using video telematics have led to its spectacular growth over the last few years.
The North American and European market for video telematics is forecasted to grow between 2020 to 2025 by 22.5% with 3.3 million subscribers. The numbers will be much higher when the growing popularity of video telematics is considered in other parts of the world.
For all stakeholders in transportation and logistics such as fleets, telematics service providers, etc., it is helpful to understand what is driving this kind of growth in video telematics.
To understand the ever-increasing growth in video telematics, it’s important to understand what happens without it. The gaps in the industry that this technology fills, are the primary reasons for rapid adoption.
Fleets often have to stay on road for more than 10-14 hours a day despite strict regulations about these hours. They also have to navigate newer routes, drive in less than satisfactory road conditions and also speed up to meet deadlines.
Here are some numbers for factors leading to truck-related accidents.
● Driving too fast led to 24%
● Unfamiliar roadways led to 22%
● OTC use by the driver led to 17%
● Poor surveillance led to 14%
● Lack of attention to the road led to 9%
● Bad driving habits and maneuvers led to 9%
Actions like hard braking, hard cornering, speeding, and the inability to stay in the lane can sometimes lead to bigger incidents. With increasing multi-tasking and the ever-present mobile devices, distraction, in particular, is of huge concern. These are not just percentage numbers. These are incidents that have led to accidents causing huge losses to life and productivity.
When you are a big vehicle on the road and there is an unfortunate accident, there is a high chance that you will be blamed. It may be that you were driving with all your senses alert and following every rule in the book, but without proper evidence, the blame game can get tricky.
Then it is up to the fleets to pay the money – for damages, fraudulent claims, lawsuits and so much more. This hurts the fleet going forward with unfavorable insurance premiums.
Nuclear verdicts are increasing at an alarming rate. Lawsuits greater than $1 million have increased nearly 1000% from 2010 to 2018 and increased from $2.3 million to $22.3 million.
In a CNBC article, Mike Card, President of Combined Transport said, “If someone wins $20 million from the jury, my insurance companies only pay the first $5 [million]. I would have to pay the next $15 million. We couldn’t afford that. We’d have to shut our doors.”
You may vet your fleet driver’s abilities and driving record thoroughly. However, risky habits can creep in at any time. It is important to help the drivers stay safe and alert them of any risky driving behaviors that can result in a bad outcome for them and the fleet. Driver coaching based on harsh events helps but a lot of the riskiest behaviors cannot be captured by G-sensors alone.
Without granular data on driver behavior, and examples of risky driving, coaching is very hard and the results are not great. This is the reason why many fleets give up on this.
Video telematics was most prevalent in class-8 trucks earlier. With increasing delivery businesses, light and medium-duty commercial vehicles are becoming very popular. The risks they face in urban and suburban environments are very high. This is resulting in the LCV and MCV segments now driving the adoption of video telematics. Here are some positive changes that video telematics brings to fleets.
Video telematics helps improve the driver’s experience with you as an employer and on the road. If the vehicle is involved in a not-at-fault accident, the driver knows that the video will protect them against reputational damage and worse. In rare instances when the driving is deemed risky such as a distracted or fatigued driver or a driver who failed to notice a speed sign, alerting the driver is much appreciated. If a driver is in some kind of a problem and requests help, live streaming initiated by the driver will help the fleet manager see exactly what is happening and enable the fleet manager to assist the driver better.
Real-time alerts upon detection of risky driving make the driver self-aware and self-correct. The fleet manager can access granular data and insights about driver behavior, enabling them to recognize good drivers for a job well done and assist drivers who need coaching. The video telematics system is not meant to be a punitive system. This improves overall morale and encourages them to follow best practices despite staying on the road for long hours.
The AI on the road-facing camera and driver-facing camera can monitor risky situations and provide real-time alerts to avert bad outcomes and provide valuable data that can be used for driver coaching to improve fleet safety.
The driver-facing camera looks for signs of distractions such as cellphone usage, constantly interacting with the radio, looking away from the road, and so on. The fleet manager is provided personalized and actionable analytics so that she can educate the drivers about being safe on the road.
The road-facing camera can monitor risky driving such as tailgating, missing stop signs, speeding, and poor lane keeping. The fleet manager receives snippets of such incidents and can coach the drivers using data from their driving. The technology can also alert any possible accidents on the driver’s route and can give them a heads up about finding alternate routes.
Having granular and personalized data will make your training more goal-oriented and actionable. You can have data-backed training material where the driver can see the incident video, better understand the consequences, and walk away with increased awareness as a safer driver.
In case of accidents, the dashcams used on your fleets can be the first line of proof in case the driver is not guilty. Video footage is extremely reliable and will be like an eyewitness to the accident. Having such proof will help exonerate the driver and protect your business. In the case of an unavoidable accident, having a video will ensure that claims and damages are not exaggerated.
Knowing you are backed by a video telematics solution can get you better insurance deals. A nuclear verdict against a fleet can be ruinous – and all fleets want to have the protection of video for their businesses.
Innovation in video telematics is happening at a blistering pace. From dash cameras that merely recorded video, video capture for harsh events to the use of AI/ML to understand driving and intelligently capture video – video telematics has come a long way.
Many cameras have DMS – driver monitoring system features such as detecting distraction and fatigue. Others have ADAS features such as forward-collision warnings. The best cameras will have both because comprehensive safety needs a comprehensive feature set.
Running computationally heavy AI to understand the video in real-time on the edge requires powerful GPUs and DSPs. However, this increases the camera cost for the fleet. The best systems will be able to do more with less – provide all the features using highly optimized AI/ML.
The 3G sunset is going to give a further fillip to LTE devices – with modern connected cameras having LTE, they can even replace the tracker and be a fully converged device for the fleet providing location analytics as well as functioning as a video telematics device.
For certain sectors, having a 360 degrees view around the vehicle is crucial. So, the ability to connect additional cameras will be needed.
More integration will be crucial – location, vehicle data, operational and compliance analytics, as well as insights from video telematics, have to be made available without the fleet having to log in to multiple dashboards.
Finally, there will be a huge focus on usability and workflows that truly help the fleet manager achieve more with less effort.
It is abundantly clear that video telematics is hugely valuable for fleets and will become ubiquitous going forward. For OEMs and TSPs who work with fleets, they must provide video telematics as an integrated solution so that the fleet does not have to go to two different vendors for two solutions. As you wonder what kind of video telematics solutions partner you want to engage with, here are some factors you should consider.
In a fast-changing technology landscape, will your partner keep up with the innovation and stay on top of the trends ensuring your customers have the best technology driving great outcomes? Companies that develop critical technology in-house creating intellectual property will be able to stay at the forefront and they are the ones you should consider partnering with.
● Good customer support
Having the best technology, and best-in-class features alone is not sufficient for a long and sustained successful partnership. The video telematics service should be easy to support in the field with tens of thousands of deployments without loading your customer support too much. No solution is perfect – it is crucial how the technology partner handles any issues that crop up – they should have the competence and the urgency to solve problems for you.
● Support deep integrations
Fleets hate it when they have to do multiple tasks that need them logging into different places/dashboards. Maintaining so many vendor relationships and billing is also very cumbersome for a fleet. Therefore, a highly integrated solution is much valued by fleets. Whether it is a deep integration using APIs or integration using SSO, the technology partner must provide the required support.
● Ease of use
There are multiple aspects to ease of use. The camera installation must be easy, preferably self-installable. This saves fleets money in terms of installation cost and truck downtime. The mantra must be analytics and not more data! Instead of inundating fleet managers with data and videos, it is important to provide them only with distilled insights and suggested actions – this makes it easy for the fleet manager, who is a busy person, to find value in the service.
Here is a read to help you further decide on a technology provider.
The rise and rise of video telematics will continue for many years as more fleets realize the benefits. Video telematics helps protect the fleet against liability, exonerate drivers, prevent crashes, recognize good drivers and improve safety through coaching – all this translates to huge savings in expenses.
If you are looking to understand video telematics further, or thinking about offering integration for your fleet customers, contact LightMetrics here.