SmartDrive introduces new driver-assist offerings to deliver added protection, safety for truckers

Truck on Icy Hill
SmartSense now offers technology to help alert drivers to adverse road conditions, as well as ways to help fleets prevent stranded drivers from becoming “sitting ducks.”

SAN DIEGO — SmartDrive Systems, which specializes in video-based safety and transportation intelligence, has released SmartSense for Speeding for Conditions and SmartSense for Sitting Duck, offering never-before-available capabilities to support and protect drivers.

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Tested by nationally recognized fleets, these intelligent driver-assist offerings represent an expansion of SmartDrive’s intellectual property portfolio. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued patents in June 2020 for the technologies, which help fleets alert drivers so they can avoid driving too fast for poor weather or road conditions; the tech also assists drivers who may be parked in unsafe locations.

“With insurance premiums, nuclear verdicts and everyday driving risks skyrocketing, fleets must be able to identify hidden dangers and proactively address them,” said Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive.

“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,” Mitgang continued. “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.”

Speeding for Conditions and Sitting Duck are the latest in the SmartDrive SmartSense line of intelligent driver-assist sensors that alert drivers to potentially dangerous situations before a catastrophic event occurs. By combining purpose-built sensors with computer vision, engine telematics and accelerometer data, the SmartSense suite enables new levels of accurate risk identification and collision mitigation.

SmartSense for Speeding for Conditions

Driving faster than the posted speed limit is not the only speeding problem facing fleets. Driving too fast for road or weather conditions, which can change rapidly and unexpectedly, accounts for 23% of truck crashes, according to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Additionally, the severity and cost of collisions significantly increase in adverse weather conditions, often resulting in nuclear verdicts. The Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) notes that 70% of the nation’s roads are located in regions that receive more than 5 inches of snow annually. Vehicles require 10 times longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement, so it is imperative that fleets monitor and notify drivers of unsafe conditions.

SmartSense for Speeding for Conditions addresses these challenges by:

  • Measuring vehicle speed versus 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; and
  • 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,” said Brett Sant, senior vice president, safety and risk management for 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,” Sant noted. “As a result, we have more drivers adapting safely and proactively to challenging weather conditions.”

SmartSense for Sitting Duck

The lack of available truck parking along some of the country’s busiest roadways, along with frequently full truck stops and rest areas, creates a dangerous and costly dilemma for drivers who are often forced to park in undesignated and unsafe locations. Between mandated driver breaks, other necessary stops and maintenance issues, fleets are often faced with “sitting duck” situations that put both drivers and the motoring public at risk.

SmartSense for Sitting Duck addresses these situations, which have continued to increase in recent months due to frequent, uncertain COVID-19 closures. SmartSense for Sitting Duck:

  • 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; and
  • 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,” Sant said. “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.”

The new SmartSense features operate on the SmartDrive Transportation Intelligence Platform, a platform capable of true data convergence; as a result, intelligent data alerts can be integrated with a fleet’s existing telematics messaging system. SmartSense features enable drivers to get alerts prior to entering an area impacted by weather so they can slow down for conditions, and the tech also alerts drivers who have been parked longer than necessary to contact dispatch.

Manager notifications are triggered if corrective action is not taken. The real-time interactive dashboards provide at-a-glance data so fleet managers can quickly identify trends and intervene before issues become widespread.

“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,” Mitgang said. “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.”

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