AI safety innovations fleet managers need to watch out for
Which innovations are going to make you take notice, which are going to change the way we drive and which are already here?
As a fleet manager, you’ll know how vital it is to keep up to date with the latest fleet safety advice and regulations. The wellbeing of your drivers always comes first, and it’s your responsibility to get a handle on the most effective safety techniques of the day.
But as technology evolves, new systems are emerging all the time – many now drawing on the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The past few years have seen exciting innovations in this space, with radical new features starting to make it to the road.
So, which up-and-coming technologies should be on your radar? Here, we run through a few innovations that will shape your approach to fleet safety in the years to come.
It’s widely documented that many road accidents occur due to a lethargic or sleepy driver sitting behind the wheel. The Department for Transport’s road safety campaign, THINK!, estimates that tiredness is responsible for almost 20% of all accidents. Your fleet drivers could be particularly at risk, taking to the roads in long shifts — often during the night.
We’ve seen gradual advances in technology to combat this problem. Some cars and vans have utilised a system that can pick up on erratic, give-away movements, telling the driver to take a break when these are detected. Others take notice when steering becomes sloppy, responding with warning sounds and a request to pull over.
Manufacturers like Toyota and Honda are leading the industry with this latest innovation. They’re among the first companies to begin development of AI-powered facial recognition technology. This solution would intelligently read facial expressions and pick up on voice tones to gauge the drivers state of mind — be it anxious, angry or, indeed, tired.
The AI tech would then try to alleviate these problematic moods or states with everything from calming music or scents to, in the most dangerous situations, a demand to pull over. Further into the future, self-driving models could even make this call for themselves.
Of course, it’s not just your drivers’ condition and behaviour you need to think about. Potential hazards are all around us on the road; there’s no telling when you’ll come across a broken-down vehicle, an oil slick or a patch of black ice.
Other variables include harsh weather conditions and even other road users.
Many manufacturers believe AI holds the answer. One of these is Volvo, who have developed their own AI-driven systems known as Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert.
The former gives drivers advanced warning when cars ahead have their hazard lights on, allowing them to react accordingly. The latter assesses how vehicles up ahead are handling, using this information to flag approaching hazards in the tarmac below.
This kind of technology adds to drivers’ eyes and ears, making their ability to detect hazards faster and sharper. Even before they’ve hit the road, data shared from other cars lets them plan routes that avoid things like traffic, breakdowns and poor road conditions. And that’s likely to make any journey safer.
Assisted driving is nothing new. In fact, features like cruise control and parking sensors have been present in our cars for several years with many manufacturers now fitting these as standard. But with the help of AI, driving aids like these will soon be seen in cars across the globe.
The biggest names in the industry have mooted a whole host of innovations we can expect to find in our cars and vans soon. For example, road sign identification technology detects and reads road signs on the road ahead, and replaying that information to aide drivers and improve their awareness of their surroundings
Autonomous driver assistance is becoming increasingly common, these tools are being increasingly sophisticated, in tests and on the road these tools can respond to and prevent minor or severe collisions of across different driving conditions.
The lane departure warning system (LDW) is designed to warn a driver when their vehicle unintentionally drifts from its lane, (unless a turn signal is on in that direction). If the LWD detects an unusual lane departure, the system will alert the driver using visual, sound and vibrating warnings. The system is recommended for clearly marked lanes like those on motorways, however it should not be relied upon in instances of faded or covered lane lines. According to Bosch and GIDAS (German In-Depth Accident Study), up to 7% of relevant accidents and fatalities can be prevented by LDW.
One of the most important AI innovations of recent years is Autonomous Emergency Breaking (AEB). These sensors are installed on more and more modern models, in turn reducing the number 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes since their introduction. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, cars are identifying more potential collision threats and continue to reduce the number of cars.
With a little help from AI, fleet drivers are set to be even safer on the roads in the future.
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