Image: Samsara
Samsara said new anti-distracted driving and tailgating features will be available at no additional cost for its dashcam users and that it plans to build on such technology for its system going forward.

Samsara delves into AI fleet safety, upgrades camera features

May 15, 2018
Samara launched new artificial intelligence (AI) features for its cameras to help fleets monitor for distracted driving and tailgating.

IoT and fleet management systems company Samsara launched new artificial intelligence (AI) features for its cameras to help fleets monitor for distracted driving and tailgating. The features use video recognition tech to keep an eye on drivers and the road, automatically alerting the fleet manager if problems arise.

"The moment a dash cam captures an incident and uploads it to the cloud, Samsara's platform reviews, analyzes, and categorizes the incident so that managers can immediately gain insights and take action," the company noted in a blog post on the new functionality.

What makes this "AI," a term probably too widely and easily thrown around, is that the features combine to take care of much of the legwork for the fleet manager. Commercial video system makers have taken various approaches to sorting through the many hours of footage the systems can generate — some leave it to the fleet manager, which can be extremely tedious and time-consuming, while others have teams of video reviewers watching diligently.

Samsara's approach in this case uses a facial recognition system with a camera facing the driver. That can detect things like nodding off or looking down away from the road, perhaps at a smartphone. Then fold in a forward-facing camera view as well that can recognize other vehicles, road signs and so on. The Samsara system can also monitor trucks for adverse events such as harsh braking.  

If the system determines there's distracted driving or other dangerous behavior going on, it can prioritize a video segment and alert the fleet manager to review it.

Here's a demo on how the system works:

Samsara said it is rolling out these first new features "over the next few weeks" and that its existing dashcam users can add them at no additional cost with just a software upgrade. Those interested can email [email protected] to activate the anti-distracted driving features now and anti-tailgating soon. 

Notably, Samsara is indicating these are just the initial AI-type functions being added — expect more to come from the company's fleet management platform and Internet-connected cameras.

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