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The Role of Video Intelligence in Transportation: Q&A with Trimble’s Jesse Chappell

In-cab video systems such as Trimble Video Intelligence can help protect fleets from false claims, enhance driver coaching and improve on-road safety.

We sat down with Jesse Chappell, global business development manager at Trimble Transportation, to find out how implementing video technology in your fleet management system is imperative for keeping both your fleet and your bottom line safe.

Jesse Chappell

Let’s start with a little bit about you – what is your career background and what does your team work on at Trimble Transportation?

I am the global business development manager for Trimble’s Video Intelligence solution. We operate in North America – primarily in the United States and expanding into Canada and Mexico – South America, and this year we launched in the EU. Trimble offers a global video intelligence solution, allowing for integration with multiple systems across the world.

I’ve been in the industry for 13 years and have been with Trimble for the last six. My favorite part of my job is bringing solutions to the market that make a difference in people’s lives. Video solutions can make the job easier for drivers and help identify ways to make the road safer. As a former firefighter, safety is very important to me on a personal level, and it’s rewarding to know that we’re a part of keeping everyone’s friends and families safer on the road.

Kicking off with the basics: what does a video system for fleets consist of?

A video system consists of one or more cameras that are installed throughout the vehicle, both in the cab and externally, and a recording device.

Video systems in vehicles are becoming more common on the road – many consumer cars these days have rear-view cameras, for example. When it comes to carriers, video systems give you near-360-degree visibility around the vehicle, and recording devices ensure you can review videos after an accident or safety event occurs.

Instead of a single, forward-facing dash cam, Trimble’s flexible solution offers four channels to use however you want to meet your business needs. For instance, if you’re carrying a high-theft item, you might want only one camera up front and the other three on the load for added security. Other fleets may want a forward-facing camera, side-cams and a backup camera – these are all accommodated in a four-channel DVR system like Video Intelligence.

Why should a fleet consider implementing a video solution?

Fleets of any size or vehicle type can benefit from a video solution, because it allows you to know exactly what happens after the truck leaves the depot and before it reaches its destination.

Class 8 drivers are often highly professional and don’t have many incidents, and when they do, most of the time it’s not their fault. However, without video or a neutral eyewitness at the scene, that can be hard to prove. Whether you’re a 10-truck fleet or a 15,000-truck fleet, you can benefit from a video system and start seeing ROI very quickly.

There are several advantages for drivers as well. In fact, many drivers employed by companies that don’t have a fleet-wide video system will bring their own dash-cams, because they understand how valuable objective video can be in the case of an event. These advanced systems can give drivers peace of mind in an accident since being able to show they’re not at fault with video proof gives them added protection.

Additional benefits include improved visibility – such as real-time video from the backup camera while in reverse or enhanced side-cam views.

Video systems have exploded in popularity in recent years, and once you understand the benefits, it’s not hard to see why. What has enabled this massive growth and what are the benefits of using these solutions?

The technology itself has grown with the advancement of higher-quality lenses and higher video resolution. In the industry as a whole, there’s a lot more scrutiny on drivers and their behavior these days, and when an incident happens, many larger companies are on the defense in lawsuits. The exoneration piece of video solutions has been crucial to the adoption of the technology.

Another driving factor in the growth of these video systems is insurance. With a video system in place, along with a safety program, fleets can often negotiate reduced rates with an insurance company. Being able to pull up a video of an incident just a few minutes after it happens can also simplify any investigations on the scene.

What is unique about Trimble’s Video Intelligence solution?

Trimble’s video solution is driven by the truck’s Engine Control Module (ECM), which means it’s a true projection of what’s going on in the vehicle at a certain time. The accelerometers you’ll find in other solutions aren’t as effective in detecting bumps and other discrepancies on the road, but our ECM-based video intelligence gathers data directly from the truck and exchanges that data throughout the vehicle, leading to enhanced processing through the machine learning technology inside Trimble Intelliview. That means the information provided is more useful for the user.

What are some of the new features and functionalities of video systems that have recently come online or are emerging technologies?

We’re seeing a renewed focus on safety solutions. Some new features we’re seeing include:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) & machine learning
  • Fatigue monitoring
  • Automated driver coaching

Using AI in the cab can help you monitor a driver’s face for eye closure in the case of fatigue monitoring, or seeing if they’re using a phone or smoking in the case of distracted driving. We have collaborated with Pulsar to deliver a fatigue monitoring and risk management solution, which is available as part of our Safety Analytics dashboard.

At Trimble, we’re focused on increasing the processing power of these systems and using AI to help turn the video data into actionable information. This data science approach helps automate driver coaching since the machines can review all of the videos and relay the most important recommendations. That makes the safety manager or fleet manager’s job more efficient by saving them time from sorting through video footage and identifying coaching priorities.

What part can video solutions play in the connected supply chain?

Video solutions have a large part to play in ensuring the safety of drivers in the connected supply chain. Video Intelligence can help reduce accidents and ensuing downtime, which means less disruption to the supply chain and more miles on the road.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

Trimble’s Video Intelligence solution is tailor-made for the heavy trucking industry, and as we continue to expand on the amount of processing, machine learning and advanced algorithms implemented, our video systems will only get better and become more accurate.

Thanks so much, Jesse!

Looking for more information about video solutions and Trimble’s Video Intelligence platform?

Check out our guide to see how adding video technology can help you enhance accident liability protection, improve driver coaching processes and increase overall safety in your fleet.