Why Driver Monitoring Is the Next Big Thing?

Date: June 14, 2021

Author: Anchal Pandey

Why Install A Driver Monitoring System?

Imagine someone sleeping in a class, you throw a ball at them and shout, “Think Fast”. Check if they catch it.  These objects might neither be very fast nor heavy but your vehicle is!

Unfortunately, we are rapidly approaching the time where our cars will demand us to think fast while we are far away from being attentive.

The semi-autonomous cars, where human and machine need to be aware of each other to deliver a higher level of automation, this solution is very much needed. In the coming decades, these autopilot systems will rely on returning the control to a human driver in various situations.

To deliver the required level of safety and efficiency, it is important to have a solution that strongly supports this transition!

While in the think fast game, one knows that the subject is not ready to catch the object, the semi-autonomous systems will entirely depend on the system to identify that their drivers are ready to take control as and when needed.

That was about our future, but even in today’s vehicles driver attention monitoring system is a must.

Burden of Road Injuries & Deaths

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) reports, 1.3 million people are killed whereas 20-50 million people are injured on the roads worldwide. What is more disturbing is, if the current trend lasts for around a decade, these figures will increase by about 65% over the next 20 years!

Road accidents cost lives as well as money. Looking at the financial costs, the road accident damages amount to more than half a trillion USD.
 

Looking at the current trends, many countries are working on road safety laws and regulations that can help in reducing road traffic injuries.

Road Safety Laws and Regulations

Europe is a leader in ensuring road safety for its people. Euro NCAP has revealed its “In Pursuit of Vision Zero” Roadmap 2025, with the goal of zero road accidents. It has recognised Driver Monitoring Solution as a primary safety feature. Its implementation was targeted by 2020 for on-road vehicles.

Euro NCAP “envisages an incentive for driver monitoring systems that effectively detect impaired and distracted driving and give appropriate warning and take effective action”.

The USA is also taking a step towards road and driver safety. Last year, senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal introduced the ''Stay Aware for Everyone" (SAFE) Act of 2020' to the United States Congress as part of four bills to reduce accidents and improve automotive safety.

The SAFE Act recommends the US Department of Transportation to research into the use of Driver behaviour monitoring systems to reduce accidents, driver disengagement, and driver complacency due to automation. This bill will also require the department to issue a final ruling to mandate DMS installation in all of the passenger vehicles within two years of ruling.

Therefore, with government regulation and traffic safety awareness, businesses and developers are looking for a solution that can supervise the driver, analyze behind the wheel performance, and improve road safety.

Who Benefits from This?

Driver monitoring system is beneficial for everyone.

Businesses

Route & Location Details: With the human resource being the most important assets for a company, driver behavior monitoring helps a lot in handling it. At times the fleet managers have no idea about the location or route of their fleets.
They often rely on the drivers to tell their location and they have no option but to accept it. Driver Monitoring Solution can share the exact route and fleet location for your information and analysis.

Better Optimization: It also helps in sending alerts when unusual or risky behavior is noticed. These changes, especially optimal routes and timely deliveries will improve the productivity of the business.
This will also give extra time for the business to think of other ways to improve. Data analysis can also help the businesses to allocate certain drivers on a certain route as per their records. After all, optimization is the key!

Higher Capital Efficiency: Since the driver will be careful and attentive on the road, the chances of accidents will be less and the insurance money can be saved. Also, bad driving causes abnormal wear and tear in the car.
These minor malfunctions, if left untreated might lead to serious damage in the future. Monitoring, proposing, and implementing these improvements in driver behavior will improve the capital efficiency, which includes tire life and fuel consumption.

Driver Identification: With driver identification, DMS also identifies people who shouldn’t be driving on behalf of the company. Also, by checking the employee’s driving records, the business can incentivize the right employee which nurtures loyalty towards the organization.
Also, the HOS rule monitors the working hours of anyone operating a commercial vehicle with CDL (Commercial driver’s license) in the United States.
This rule analyses the maximum number of consecutive working hours a commercial truck driver can drive before taking a mandatory break. It’s designed to reduce accidents caused by driver drowsiness. Therefore, it will help in monitoring the working hours of the driver and sends an alert for taking a necessary break from driving.

Individuals

Lower Premiums: Insurance companies are also promoting and implementing the use of Driver monitoring solutions to offer telematics insurance policies. It gives them accurate information regarding the driver’s behaviors.
Thereby it gets easier for them to access and inspect the level of risk of a given individual or a company. Using this data, they can offer suitable premium policies and rates.

Safer Driving: The distraction and drowsiness alerts help enhance safe driving skills. Most drivers vastly overestimate how safe they drive. The driver monitoring system can act as a co-pilot and can guide them through.

Also, it sends an audio and visual signal for an object left behind which very much helps in reducing thefts.

Customized Experience: With the advancement in technology, a modern driver attention monitoring system can modify cabin climate as per driver’s behavior.

What’s Next for Driver Monitoring?

In the near future, more active, reliable, and accurate driver behaviour monitoring solutions will be developed. If you are interested in knowing more about such a system, please connect with us at marcom@pathpartnertech.com or visit us here.

Recently the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their investigation report on a deadly accident involving a leading semi-autonomous vehicle with autopilot mode on, which showed that overreliance on the feature and continued driver disengagement from the dynamic driving task resulted in the accident.

Among the many safety recommendations issued in the report, the highlight was the adoption of a more effective driver monitoring solution!

So, in the light of such accidents where driver ignores the road conditions due to their over reliance on the semi-autonomous vehicles which have recently increased exponentially, the market is again focussing on driver monitoring functions.

In the near future, the main focus will be on the development of more active, reliable, and accurate camera-based driver monitoring systems. Through eye tracking and behavioural monitoring, these systems can identify in real-time whether the driver is really tired, distracted or driving unsafe.

They will be serving various functions simultaneously like driver assessment, drowsiness & inattention detection, and even taking over of controls when necessary!

DMS can go still further. Advanced DMS will help the car in adapting to environmental conditions, keeping the driver comfortable while ensuring that they remain alert. AI will be able to detect drowsiness and adjust cabin lighting and temperature to keep the driver vigilant.

It would also be able to detect driver’s anger to enable interventions and have route alternatives that can prevent road rage. Some cars might even offer “virtual assistants” that can advise the driver to take a deep breath or play soothing music to calm them down!

Until then, the current recommendations from authorities and the ever-increasing awareness about road safety will result in huge demand for Driver monitoring solution.

Conclusion

The Driver monitoring system is gaining more importance because it can reduce the number of accidents and can also help in understanding and adjusting to the driver’s riding conditions.

Modern connectivity features like navigation and hands-free calling have improved the driver’s in-cabin experience. But these features are also the primary source for lack of focus in drivers.

The primary reasons being using cell phones (calling, texting, and others), using navigation and infotainment, handling kids or pets, zoning out. The most common of them all is the use of cell phones to talk or text while driving leading to distraction accidents.

The US National Safety Council estimates 26% of all car crashes involve using cell phones.

Rise in road accidents due to drowsiness, distraction, and lack of alertness in the driver coupled with drinking and driving has made DMS a necessity. People might like or not like the idea of being under constant surveillance while driving, but this initiative should help prevent thousands of accidents.

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