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NewsTechnologyTrucking

The camera sees all: Phone usage, smoking in cab now trigger driver alerts

In-cab video monitoring continues to advance, and an Israeli-based computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) company is introducing software that allows it to provide real-time alerts for common in-cab distractions.

Eyesight Technologies announced the additions to its FleetSense software and video product on Nov. 21. With the updated solution, users of FleetSense, which utilizes an infrared (IR) sensor in the camera, can be notified if a driver is using a cellphone or smoking when driving.

FleetSense is a fatigue- and driver-monitoring system. It tracks the driver’s head pose, eyelids and eyes and, using AI, detects fatigue and levels of drowsiness and inattentiveness. Eyesight offers an operation feature that can recognize who is driving a vehicle at any given time.

“This IR sensor is designed to work in all lighting conditions [including complete darkness] to track facial features such as the head position, blink rate, eye openness and even the direction of gaze in order to define the state of the driver. Is the driver drowsy? Focused on the road or distracted?” Tal Krzypow, vice president of product for Eyesight, told FreightWaves. “On top of that, we have added new computer-vision capabilities that allow us to detect more than just the driver.”

These new detections include whether the driver is wearing a seat belt and if it is being worn correctly, if the driver is holding a cellphone and if the driver might be smoking. The software is advanced enough, Krzypow explained, to avoid false alerts.

“The system analyzes both the driver’s actions and the objects in view and should not generate a smoking alert in the case that a driver merely enjoys a candy,” he said. “However, if an object similar to a cigarette is handled in a manner similar to smoking, it may generate an alert.”

The AI has been programmed to recognize several styles of holding a cigarette for more accurate alerts. The ability to identify and monitor in-cab smoking is a critical safety element for certain freight segments, the company said, such as hazmat shipments involving oil and gas when smoking is illegal.

Eyesight cited a National Center for Biotechnology Information study that said 67% of long-haul truck drivers in the U.S. smoke.

Krzypow said that because FleetSense is software-based, fleets could potentially adjust alerts. “They can define that if the vehicle is stopped, smoking is allowed. They can also define the types of alerts that they want to receive or provide to the driver,” he said.

There are various levels of alerts as well, so drowsiness detection can generate a more critical alert than a smoking alert does.

The monitoring of cellphones reduces the potential for a distracted driving incident, the company said. According to the teen distracted driving organization TeenSafe, distracted driving is a factor in 80% of all accidents in the U.S. Cellphone use accounts for 25% of those. According to an AT&T survey, 43% of teens and 49% of adults admit to texting while driving.

Krzypow said there is no intrusion into the cellphone since the system uses AI and the camera to identify usage. Hands-free usage does not trigger alerts.

“The computer-vision technology detects what is in the field of view, so a hands-free device would not be detected,” he said. “However, as our solution already has the ability to detect distracted drivers, the system could provide an alert for general distraction if detected, but it would not be able to detect a hands-free phone outside the field of view.”

David Tolub, CEO of Eyesight Technologies, said, “There’s no greater distraction and danger on today’s road than mobile phones. The average driver doesn’t realize that looking down at your phone to check a text is six times more likely to result in an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol. Our first priority is the safety of all people on the road, and eliminating the distraction created by our cellphones is a huge step towards a much safer road.” 

Eyesight Technologies offers FleetSense and other driver safety solutions globally. The company has offices in Cupertino, Shenzhen, China, and Hong Kong.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.

9 Comments

  1. Court orders trucking company to remove driver-facing cameras because they violate drivers’ privacy
    September 11, 2017

    Quoted part from an article :

    “A Canadian court has ruled that driver-facing cameras violate a trucker’s right to privacy and have ordered Sysco Quebec to remove the devices from their trucks.

    The ruling was announced during the week of August 21st, by the Quebec Superior Court.
    According to TVA Nouvelles, the truck drivers of Sysco Quebec have been rallying against driver-facing cameras for the last five years.

    Back in 2012, Sysco began installing DriveCam driver-facing cameras in all of their trucks, claiming that they were only to be used to record evidence in case of an accident. The cameras were meant to record only specific events, such as sudden braking, for 12 seconds at a time. However, soon after the DriveCam cameras were installed, around 70 truck drivers for Sysco Quebec filed complaints about the cameras, claiming they would randomly start recording several times a day.

    The truck drivers said they felt “watched” and “intimidated,” so their union filed a grievance.
    In 2016, an arbitration panel reviewed the complaints and ordered Sysco to remove the driver-facing cameras. The arbitration tribunal called the cameras a “particularly intrusive” method to promote workplace safety, as the cab of a truck is more private than an office or other workplace.

    Sysco contested the arbitration panel’s decision and the case was elevated to the Quebec Superior Court, which sided with the drivers in late August.

    ANOTHER ARTICLE :

    Quote :

    “TORONTO, Ont. — Canada has a lot of workplace privacy legislation on the books, some of which can be applied to driver-facing cameras. Some jurisdictions seem favorably disposed to the video monitoring of operators (drivers) in safety-sensitive positions, while others suggest cameras might be OK, as long as no other reasonable mechanism exists to achieve the same results.
    Tobi Cohen, senior communications advisor for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, told Today’s Trucking that “video surveillance should only be deployed to address a real, pressing and substantial problem, and it should be viewed as an exceptional step, only to be taken in the absence of a less privacy-invasive alternative.”

    For example, the Commissioner’s Office made submissions to Parliament regarding Bill C-49, which mandates voice and video recorders in trains and became law in May.

    “In the context of C-49 we acknowledged the impact of audio/video recordings on employee privacy but based on the evidence put forward by the Transportation Safety Board, we generally accepted that their use for safety reasons was reasonable, provided appropriate controls are in place to prevent use for inconsistent purposes,” Cohen said.

    Policy and guidelines coming from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada through the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) apply only to federally regulated business, including inter-provincial and international trucking.
    According to Lyndsay Wasser, a partner the McMillan law firm, several provinces also have legislation in place regarding employee privacy that would apply to intra-provincial operators. In Ontario, for example, there is no legislation in the private sector that applies to employee personal information.

    “That doesn’t mean there are no laws,” she says. “There are tort laws relating to privacy, such as ‘intrusion upon seclusion’, which is invading someone’s privacy in a manner that would seem highly offensive to a reasonable person.”
    Typically, monitoring for safety reasons, to track stolen vehicles, or to improve client service efficiency is more likely to meet the test for being reasonable than monitoring for employee performance for management purposes, she says. Usually, but there are no guarantees.

    The Quebec division of an international food service company recently lost a court challenge to its use of driver-facing cameras as a safety tool. The action followed a grievance filed by the Teamsters Union. In its decision the Quebec Superior Court ruled — we paraphrase here — that installing driver-facing cameras was a “preemptive” measure rather than a response to a specific risk, such as a pattern of repeated driver errors, which did not warrant such an invasive solution. Less-invasive measures were available, such as cameras that face forward only.

    “We are on record as opposing driver-facing cameras as they infringe upon a driver’s right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in the vehicle,” says John McCann national freight director, Teamsters Canada. “We are satisfied with the Quebec Superior Court ruling that found there are less invasive ways of monitoring drivers and improving fleet safety.”

    SAY NO TO PRIVACY INVASION ! SAY NO TO IN CAB FACING VIDEO CAMERAS !

    In my humble opinion ………….

    1. You will not be able to avoid this and keep insurance rates in check. Not sure about Canada but in Right To Work states the driver has the option to not work for a company that is using them.

      1. Quote :

        “but in Right To Work states the driver has the option to not work for a company that is using them”

        Then these so called “Companies” complain about experiencing driver shortages ! Insurance companies need to be fair and stop discriminating . However, as mentioned in many comments before in regards to insurance discriminating policies , if truck drivers were to unite and create an alliance they wouldn’t have this problem with insurance policies since they would be positioned to create and own their own mutual .

        Abusive behavior and or policies end up engendering retaliation . Retaliation diminishes abuser control and ends up diminishing abuser profit . Abusive insurance companies are simply illogically positioning themselves for competition to reduce their market share .

        Therefore drivers shouldn’t simply choose to boycott companies that impose in cab facing cameras , but also to boycott using certain insurance company’s services that impose abusive policies .

        United , you can bring your collective business needs to a single insurance company and negotiate massive discounts based on “volume” . Then eventually simply create your own mutual .

        We need to stop bending over , start thinking collectively and outsmart the abusers .

        In my humble opinion …………

      2. The problem is when the industry starts using them it gets pushed as mandatory without resistance. That is how e-logs got pushed on us all.

        1. Correct !

          It was “their” plan all along . Even before ELD’s were mandatory , some ELD’s already had self facing in cab cameras imbedded within them . That in of itself was quite revealing .

          If you step back and objectively analyse people ,corporations ,governments ,how they think ,act , and behave , you can predict and anticipate their actions and future outcomes with quite a high accuracy rate . It’s all a game , just like playing chess . unfortunately the “game” is being played at the labourers and consumers expense .

          In my humble opinion …………

  2. I will just have to learn a new trade before I ever allow some one to put a camera in my face. Things will get real expensive really fast. Thanks

  3. IR lighting will blind the camera and perhaps even destroy the optics eventually. None of these cameras like IR or even LED lights. Blind the f’n things. If the company tells you can’t do that, wear the lights as religious jewelry and tell them you are offended by their cameras and cameras are considered evil. Just convince them you’re Amish and cameras you your religion prohibits any photos being taken of you.

  4. While these “corporations” create and adopt anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies , they turn around and lobby for , create , and enforce harassment and discrimination policies ,. That’s quite ironic !

    The same stands for ELD’s and paper log books . They are discriminatory and imposed on a minority group(truck drivers) .

    And the only reason for which they have unjustifiably been imposed is due to a minority within a minority group which are ABUSERS and for competitive reasons !

    Catch an abuser and deal with the “abuser” . We don’t impose a speed limiter on automobiles even though some abuse of their liberty and violate speed limits while putting others in danger . We legislated speed LIMITS ! And if one is caught abusing the speed “limit” then they are disciplined ,period !

    But then again “speed limiters” imposed on a “minority group” haven’t been imposed simply based on the “safety” propaganda we’ve been manipulated to believe in .

    It’s been imposed to save on fuel while remaining competitive and supposedly to decrease emissions . What happened to imposing DEF in that matter ??? In fact imposing a speed limiter in certain circumstances is actually a SAFETY THREAT/HAZARD , especially on vehicles as heavy and big as semi trucks !

    In fact where is the roll cage in those trucks to PROTECT the driver in their tin cans in case of a major collision ??? Rather than thinking about perhaps redesigning the truck and trailers AND TIRES (especial fuel tankers) for safety , these clowns are harassing drivers with ELD’s , speed limiters, and self-facing cameras as a supposed safety prevention feature . IT’S BULL SH*T !

    Those ELD & Self-facing in cab camera toys of theirs catch you after the fact if you indeed violated safety protocols , NOT BEFORE ! It doesn’t prevent violations ! They are simply PLOYS !

    In my humble opinion …………..

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