With the increasing emphasis on safety in the trucking industry, year on year and the intention becoming clear that fatigue monitoring will be included in future regulations, many operators will be looking at a technical solution for fatigue when developing a fatigue management strategy.
There is a wide range of systems on the market and there is a great deal of variation in the systems on offer. The choice may be to pick one supplier and stick with them, while other will probably take a mix and match approach, using a suite of systems to manage the issue.
The technological solutions can be divided into several groups. There are telematics providers who have a full suite of services on offer, covering tracking, scheduling, messaging and other aspects of total fleet management. These could include a form of electronic work diary, but not one, at the time of writing, which can be used instead of the paper work diary.
The players in this space include, in no particular order, MTData, Teletrac Navman, Coretex, Ctrack, Mix Telematics, Future Fleet and Allotrac. All bring their own specialities to the table, but vehicle tracking, data transfer and communication between truck and base are all included.
Each one of these offerings has its own take on how the truck and driver are managed. Most are connected into the CANbus on the vehicle to pull in data about the way the truck is being driven and also recording any reportable incidents. This data can also be used in managing other aspects of the operation like scheduling vehicle maintenance.
There is another group of solutions specifically aimed at driver behaviour and fatigue. The common theme here is trying to minimise risk, for the driver, the truck, others on the road and the transport operator.
For many of these systems some form of camera monitoring the situation within and outside the cabin are looking for issues around fatigue, distraction and other on-road dangers. There is outlier in this space, Smartcap, there are no cameras, but sensors measuring brainwaves instead.
The players working in this space are many and varied and all have a unique approach to the problem. Each has their own technological solution to a particular problem as it is perceived by the customer.
Solutions here include Seeing Machines, which is monitoring eye movement for evidence of micro-sleeps and distraction. Fleetsafe includes a camera and some smart analytical software which looks at the road ahead and keeps the driver alert to any dangers and changes in road conditions ahead, reducing problems from distraction
Driverisk is also using cameras to monitor driver behaviour, but takes a more holistic approach and is monitoring for any behaviour it perceives as dangerous, these are then recorded and a the operator gets data on potentially dangerous incidents on the road.
ConnectSource also play in this space, but is best described as an enabler. It will assess a customer’s needs and create a package using many of the components listed above to come up with a custom solution.
Getting some really precise data in this space can be difficult. Some suppliers will claim market dominance with little substantiation whilst others say they are the only ones with a particular technology. Diesel will be going deeper into the whole subject of in cab technology area in its next issue, as an ongoing investigation of convergence.