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Video Intelligence: A Fleet Safety Tool That Saves Lives

Most consumers have grown accustomed to ordering an item online and having it delivered within days, but this convenience comes with a cost unseen by many: with increased demand comes increased volume and urgency of commercial trucking activities and increased risk to the professional driver behind the wheel as a result.

In its 2022 “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries” for 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that transportation workers, “experienced a series high of 1,523 fatal work injuries in 2021 and represent the occupational group with the highest number of fatalities.” Further, “transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event in 2021 with 1,982 fatal injuries, an increase of 11.5 percent from 2020,” accounting for 38.2 percent of all work related fatalities in 2021.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. The census also reports that transportation-related incidents are down 6.6 percent overall from 2019 when there were 2,122 fatalities, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes decreased 4 percent from 2019 to 2020. Still, any number is too high. What can be done to mitigate these risks and drive the numbers down as low as possible?

The Advantage of Video Intelligence

One key to a safer future is video intelligence systems. In their 2017 report, Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that “video-based onboard safety monitoring systems could prevent as many as 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths each year.”

Designed for heavy-duty fleets and their drivers, these systems combine on-board data-gathering capabilities from a variety of sources—including exterior-mounted cameras, dash cameras and other devices—to record driving activities and events and inform dispatchers in real-time if an incident occurs. These systems give drivers and their support teams eyes on the back, sides, and top of their vehicles to help prevent future accidents and fatalities and make the road safer to drive for all motorists.

Since its introduction in 2016, our award-winning Video Intelligence solution has led the way in increasing driver safety and providing dispatchers and fleet managers in the back office greater insight into incidents on the road. We’ve continued to add new hardware and software features to the system, resulting in a modern, cloud-enabled solution that proactively provides real-time alerts and warnings to help prevent accidents before they happen.

How do we do this? What are the features every commercial fleet should seek in their video intelligence solutions? Below, we explore the challenges video intelligence systems are designed to address and the many advantages they provide fleets of all sizes.

AI-Powered Safety

When drivers are behind the wheel of a fully loaded truck, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. It’s vital that a video intelligence solution be able to supply your team with actionable information as soon as an incident occurs or conditions seem risky. That’s why we’ve enhanced our Video Intelligence solution with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that can respond as quickly as possible.

Our Video Intelligence solution records data directly from the Engine Control Module (ECM) and processes it in near real-time using reliable and powerful AI capabilities. These advanced AI algorithms can help identify risky behaviors inside and outside the cab, prevent distracted driving and streamline footage review for back-office staff.

Dashboard-mounted cameras are especially useful when recording instances of other drivers cutting off a driver and putting everyone at risk. If the driver needs to take evasive maneuvers that result in an accident or damage to their load, having video proof of that incident goes a long way toward absolving a driver of responsibility. Our solution features an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS): a 1920x1080-pixel high-resolution forward-facing camera that warns of unintentional road lane departures, provides forward collision notifications and more.

Mounted directly on the windshield, the forward-facing camera gives views of the road ahead and provides additional context to help improve driver coaching opportunities and potentially exonerate drivers in the event of an accident. The AI also triggers event recordings to enhance fleet safety programs, making it easier to reward good driving habits.

Proactive Alerts Prevent Accidents

DCube (Dynamic Driver Defense) is an innovative new feature in Trimble’s Video Intelligence solution that prevents incidents on the road – and in the cab – by notifying drivers of potential incidents in real-time. The small in-cab notification device is installed on truck dashboards and provides real-time audio alerts and visual warnings to keep drivers safe from hazards on the road. DCube’s instantaneous alerts for following distance, lane departure, distraction in the cab and more, can reduce accident probabilities and ensure drivers get home safely.

Another important safety feature is the Cabin Intelligent Monitor (CIM), which monitors for driver fatigue and distraction, giving fleet managers the opportunity to identify unsafe practices and risky driving behaviors, and work with drivers to coach better driving habits for increased safety.

The CIM currently monitors drivers for distractions, seat belt usage, smoking, fatigue, cell phone usage, camera obstruction and more.

Trimble's AI, paired with the Cabin Intelligent Monitor, recognizes real scenarios and records them for future use and ongoing coaching. By using actual in-cab information, fleet managers and drivers can work together to improve overall safety.

Eyes Around the Truck

In addition to forward-facing cameras, Trimble Video Intelligence also features several camera options to provide a more complete view around a fleet’s vehicles.

One of these is a pod camera, which discreetly mounts on either the driver or passenger side of a vehicle. This placement is ideal for capturing events that take place alongside a vehicle, in adjacent lanes of traffic or in a driver’s blind spots. Fleets can also gain further context through a rear-facing camera. Mounted on the back of a tractor, this configurable camera can provide additional insight into triggered incidents near the rear of a truck and help identify driver coaching opportunities.

While the pod and rear-facing cameras can be crucial in providing event-related context, they are also essential in helping drivers with real-time lines of sight while behind the wheel.

The optional Driver Assist functionality displays appropriate live video from the pod or backup cameras in the cab when the turning indicator is engaged or the truck is in reverse. Helpful in navigating blind spots and more easily backing into tight areas like loading docks, Driver Assist connects to the Trimble Video Intelligence display or a separate monitor to help drivers make more informed decisions based on their surroundings.

Driver Coaching Opportunities

Another challenge the Video Intelligence helps solve is driver behavior. Oftentimes, 10 to 20 percent of a fleet’s drivers represent 50 to 65 percent of the entire fleet’s risk.

The Safety Analytics dashboard within Video Intelligence aggregates driver data from whole fleets in one place and breaks data down into easy-to-understand and usable information. This powerful analytics tool allows managers to identify the most at-risk drivers based on metrics including Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores, hours-of-service violations, speeding and behavior. This gives fleets the ability to highlight driving patterns in need of coaching.

The solution streamlines the review process by segmenting footage with computer vision and machine learning, and fast data retrieval ensures efficient review of video footage. Onboard Event Recording (OER) combined with high-resolution video documentation provides critical detail in case of an accident or incident.

Video: A Cornerstone Safety Tool

When it comes to commercial trucking, nothing is higher priority than driver safety. It’s vital that drivers and their vehicles be equipped with video technology that can assist them in the moment and support them when a dangerous moment passes.

Video Intelligence has become a cornerstone safety tool for thousands of fleets around the world, reducing risks for fleet drivers, owners and operators. The solution has earned multiple industry awards, including a 2017 Tekne Award from the Minnesota Technology Association, an AutoTech Breakthrough Award in 2022, and most recently, was named one of Heavy Duty Trucking’s Top 20 Products for 2023.

See for yourself what a video solution can do for your organization. For more information on Trimble’s Video Intelligence solution and to set up a demo, visit: