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"Black Box" Telemetry Solution

Acculeon releases black box to reduce accidents

Acculeon, Inc. today released its new Telemetry Information System (TIS) equipped with the firm’s Vehicle Safety Manager (VSM) software.

TIS is designed to cost-effectively track moving violations through real-time event monitoring. The system records instances of speeding, tailgating, unsafe handling on curved road segments, rapid acceleration, sudden stops and frequent lane changes.

“When the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration said it wanted to reduce commercial vehicle accidents by 41% by 2008 we knew we could create a solution that would help,” stated Mahesh Chowdhary, chief technology officer and co-founder of Santa Clara, CA-based Acculeon.

“They named 21 unsafe driving behaviors that attributed to accidents,” he said. “We chose to focus on what they considered to be ‘serious moving violations’. We developed the VSM software, bundled it with our Telemetry Information System and priced it at a point where fleets would find their return on investment no later than nine months from the date of purchase.”

The system consists of three components: the in-vehicle TIS hardware (or “black box”), a communications infrastructure, either cellular or WiFi communications link (or both) and the web-based VSM analysis and report generation software.

The TIS hardware captures and records driver events through the use of inertial sensors, a GPS receiver and an onboard geographical-map database. A gyroscope tracks frequent lane changes at high speeds and turns that are taken too tightly. The built-in accelerometer tracks rapid acceleration, sudden stops and tailgating. A proprietary map database gives information on road geometry and speed limits of road segments while the GPS receiver tracks the vehicle location where the event occurs.

The Acculeon cellular solution (TIS-C) interfaces with an external GPS receiver and existing cellular infrastructure. The Acculeon WiFi solution (TIS-W) is a stand-alone unit with an onboard GPS receiver and 802.11b (WiFi) module. TIS-W hardware utilizes WiFi infrastructure at a customer site and/or at Acculeon authorized WiFi locations, such as truck stops.

Acculeon’s VSM software enables fleet operators to view and generate various reports on unsafe driving events. The software also provides specific recommendations to help correct driver behavior problems.

Some of the basic reports that can be generated include: total fleet performance during any specific period – grouped monthly, quarterly or annually; ranking of all drivers based on unsafe driving behaviors for any specific period, by class of vehicles or by specific event types; performance of an individual driver over a period of time and comparison with the rest of the fleet. Exception reporting can be done to a designated e-mail address, cell phone and/or pager.

“We’re finding the majority of fleets currently piloting the product are using it not only to identify which drivers need more training,” stated Chowdhary, “but they are using the system as a driver reward tool.”

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