Photo: Aaron Marsh/ Fleet Owner
Trimble Transportation VP of Video Intelligence Solutions Jim Angel

A combination of monitoring tech to get at true fatigue

Nov. 6, 2018
A new Trimble-Pulsar fatigue/ risk management system for truck drivers works from two very different directions.

At the heart of a truck driver fatigue warning system delivered through a partnership between Trimble Transportation and Pulsar Informatics is that latter company's wealth of fatigue and sleep research from the aviation, aerospace, and other safety-sensitive industries. But Trimble's Jim Angel explained even that wasn't enough.

Pulsar, founded in 2001, has studied sleep patterns and monitored fatigue for the likes of astronauts and pilots—who, like truck drivers, have work hours governed by regulations for safety reasons—and gauges a truck driver's fatigue levels using Hours of Service (HOS) data in the company's Trucking Fatigue Meter.

Drivers get a safety risk rating similar to Trimble's: green, yellow, or red status, with red being a potential safety warning. "We have a very, very firm belief in what they do," said Angel, Trimble's VP of Video Intelligence Solutions, of Pulsar's fatigue monitoring. "These guys are absolutely brilliant people."

Still, one size doesn't fit all when it comes to fatigue, he added. "You and I might be completely different in how we react to fatigue," Angel told Fleet Owner. "Let's say both of us have been busy all day; we both got a two-hour nap.

"You might feel like driving the rest of the day, and I'm like, 'I'm not getting behind the wheel.'"

So the Trimble-Pulsar fatigue/ risk management system for drivers works from two very different directions. Pulsar's technology analyzes drivers' HOS data and determines when there's a heightened risk of a driver being fatigued. And from Trimble's Onboard Event Recording side, drivers are monitored for anomalous behavior.

"We want to look at the information that we have and see if that driver is actually showing signs of fatigue," Angel said. "We're looking for those signs that this might be a driver who's actually having a little bit of a struggle driving the truck and we're pushing that to Pulsar."

Unlike some other safety analytics fleet data that's updated less frequently, the Trimble-Pulsar fatigue monitoring system is updated every 15 minutes. The Trimble system compares a driver's performance to that of his or her fleet peer group, watching for specific things like more sudden starts, sudden stops, lane departures, and roll stability warnings.

If problems are showing up there as well as with the Pulsar technology's monitoring, that's the so-called "perfect storm," Angel contended, where a driver truly may be fatigued and at risk based on individual response and performance.

"Then we can send an alert to the carrier that, 'Hey, this might be a driver you want to send a message to—pull over, call in, find a safe spot, we want to have a quick conversation with you,'" he said.

The new fatigue-monitoring and risk-management system is available as part of the Trimble's Safety Analytics dashboard, folding in data from Pulsar's Trucking Fatigue Meter and Trimble's Onboard Event Recording.

Separately, Trimble also recently enhanced its Video Intelligence platform with a new Intelliview feature and an available new camera and digital video recorder equipped with a 4G LTE modem that capture high-resolution video. Intelliview helps filter triggered truck events from Onboard Event Recording by categorizing videos as primary or secondary risks, prioritizing what's urgent. 

It's designed to further streamline video review for the fleet manager. Trimble's available 720p video camera has twice the shutter speed and enables three times higher pixel quality video capture than previous cameras offered with Trimble's Video Intelligence solution.

About the Author

Aaron Marsh

Before computerization had fully taken hold and automotive work took someone who speaks engine, Aaron grew up in Upstate New York taking cars apart and fixing and rewiring them, keeping more than a few great jalopies (classics) on the road that probably didn't deserve to be. He spent a decade inside the Beltway covering Congress and the intricacies of the health care system before a stint in local New England news, picking up awards for both pen and camera.

He wrote about you-name-it, from transportation and law and the courts to events of all kinds and telecommunications, and landed in trucking when he joined FleetOwner in July 2015. Long an editorial leader, he was a keeper of knowledge at FleetOwner ready to dive in on the technical and the topical inside and all-around trucking—and still turned a wrench or two. Or three. 

Aaron previously wrote for FleetOwner. 

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...