Truck driver monitoring systems are used primarily to reduce accidents caused by fatigue, drowsiness, and distractions. But they can also be used to improve other aspects. In this article, you’ll learn how truck driver monitoring works, and why you should implement it as soon as possible.
Heavy commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or tanker trucks, pose significant risks to public safety. Due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, even a minor error by the driver can have serious consequences. These are some of the most significant risks, that are especially important to address in the case of truck drivers:
The more time drivers spend on the road, the more likely they are to be distracted by other activities. Another study from the NHTSA found that 3,142 people died in distraction-affected crashes in 2020.
Behaviors like mobile phone use or eating while driving are the most common causes of such crashes. As they are covering longer distances than average drivers, truck drivers will most likely face an even greater urge to check their phones or grab a bite to eat while steering the wheel. However, doing so is an even greater hazard when operating a large vehicle.
As truck drivers spend more time on the road than the average driver, they are naturally more prone to fatigue or drowsiness. According to research, driving drowsy even has similar effects on the human body as driving drunk. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported there were 633 deaths from drowsy-driving-related crashes in 2020.
Moreover, the AAA Foundation found that drowsy driving was involved in over 10% of all crashes reported to the police. They concluded this phenomenon is severely under-reported because it’s so hard to identify after a crash has already happened.
As a result, there are strict safety requirements in place to ensure heavy commercial vehicles are operated safely and responsibly. One of the latest such requirements is the Advanced Driver Distraction Warning (ADDW) mandate. As part of the European General Safety Regulation’s DDR (Driver Distraction and Drowsiness Recognition) safety measure, it aims to reduce road accidents and injuries caused by driver distraction.
Manufacturers of heavy commercial vehicles must implement an ADDW system in all new vehicles by July 2024. They need to ensure their vehicles are compliant, as failure to do so can result in fines and other penalties.
Overall, driver monitoring technologies use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the driver’s behavior, looking for signs of fatigue, distraction, or any sort of visual impairment. If the AI system detects any type of dangerous behavior by the driver, it triggers an alert, such as a light on the instrument panel or a warning sound. It can also activate safety functions automatically, like slowing down the vehicle.
Similar to other examples of AI adoption in cars, truck driver monitoring also relies on face-related technologies. These include face tracking, head tracking, and eye tracking. And they are possible through the use of cameras placed in the driver’s cabin.
Let’s use the example of FaceTrack, a software solution developed by Visage Technologies, to describe the most important features of a truck driver monitoring system:
Besides tracking the movements and position of the head, face, or eyes, there are other AI technologies that can not only address other risks but enhance the whole driving experience as well.
Emotions can be a very significant factor on the road. Driving while angry, sad, crying, or emotionally agitated, can increase the risk of a crash nearly tenfold, according to a 2016 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
In this case, software like FaceAnalysis can be especially helpful. By analyzing a person’s face, it categorizes their emotions into one of the basic types: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, or a neutral feeling. In a driving situation, you can configure the system to suggest a stop if it detects negative emotions on the driver’s face, like anger. Alternatively, it can automatically reduce the vehicle’s speed, or suggest a different route that’s less crowded, and consequently less likely to agitate the driver further.
There has been a surge in truck cargo thefts during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, as reported by CargoNet. Such events can not only result in direct losses of revenue but also potentially erode trust in a trucking company.
In these cases, it would be wise to upgrade the vehicle’s security. One way of doing that is by implementing real-time face recognition. You can then configure the truck driver monitoring system to unlock the vehicle only after recognizing the face of an authorized driver.
Besides security, this type of technology can also be used to remember the driver’s preferences and automatically restore them.
For instance, it can adjust the mirrors’ angles, the seat, play the driver’s preferred music, and more. This is very useful when a company has multiple drivers for the same vehicle in different shifts or route stages.
To sum up the main points covered above:
Visage Technologies is a leading provider of AI solutions used for truck driver monitoring. If you, too, want to implement these top-notch solutions, we encourage you to contact us. Our team will be happy to answer any questions, and help make your vehicles safer for drivers and pedestrians everywhere.
Contact us today to find out how our computer vision solutions can help your business and make your vehicels safer for everyone.