Michelin secures equity stake in maker of analytics platform
SmartDrive Systems announced that Michelin North America has led a preferred-stock round of investment in the company. Michelin's investment in SmartDrive continues the expansion of its strategy for fleet telematics and mobility services. SmartDrive says it will leverage the investment to fuel its continued growth in video analytics and transportation intelligence, emphasizing the areas of R&D, sales and marketing, and expansion in North America and international markets.
SmartDrive Systems’ video analytics platform identifies risk and captures video from multiple vantage points around the commercial vehicle, which is combined with engine computer, sensor, and GPS-enabled data to deliver real-time analysis, predictive analytics, and other programs that improve the commercial driver's skill and efficiency while operating the vehicle.
"The transportation sector is at the forefront of today's technology innovation curve. This investment from one of the world's foremost safety brands will help us continue our fast-paced innovation, allowing us to serve new verticals and expand our business into new markets," said Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive.
The first sensor in the suite, SmartSense for Distracted Driving, uses advanced computer vision-based algorithms, paired with the SmartDrive video analytics platform, to address distracted and inattentive driving. When combined with the SmartDrive program and its Extended Recording capability, SmartSense is designed to offer fleets a comprehensive picture of what led to driver distraction, how it manifested, and what the outcome was.
Instead of relying exclusively on vehicle maneuvers, such as hard braking, aggressive swerving, or lane departure to capture driver cell-phone use or other causes of distraction, the SmartSensor reportedly interprets driver cues proven to accurately indicate distraction, such as head and eye movements. When the sensor detects distraction, inattention, or drowsiness, it triggers a video, which is prioritized and offloaded for immediate verification and intervention, allowing fleets to act quickly.
Video evidence from the SmartDrive library indicates that drivers who engage in distracted driving frequently demonstrate an over-reliance on their ability to respond to dangerous situations, should they occur. Prior to texting, for example, drivers often put themselves in perceived "safe modes," by moving to the right lane, using cruise control at or below the speed limit, and positioning themselves in limited surrounding traffic or at a following distance that initially appears safe. Additionally, drivers regularly misjudge the length of time and frequency of their distraction, texting for a longer time period than estimated, as well as diverting their eyes from the road more frequently and for more time than perceived.
"Today, the majority of computer vision-based technologies operate in isolation from other systems and sensors on the vehicle—which means they are acting on data only available from their own system. This is a missed opportunity that will limit options for fleets in this new age of intelligent transportation," said Mitgang. "With the SmartSense product line, we are taking a different approach by fusing sensor, vehicle, and environmental data—creating a convergence of information that makes the entire system smarter and better able to help fleets prepare drivers for a world of more autonomous technology."
SmartSense for Distracted Driving operates with the SmartDrive video analytics platform, and includes:
- Distraction and inattention triggers that detect when eyes are off the road for a defined time period or a driver has exceeded a specific number of distracted incidents
- Purpose-built hardware with infrared sensors to capture distraction even when sunglasses are worn
- In-cab alerts when distraction or inattention occurs
- Prioritized review and risk scoring for video of distraction events
- Integration with the proven SmartDrive video safety program
SmartSense for Distracted Driving will be available in the first quarter of 2018.
For more information on SmartDrive Systems, visit www.smartdrive.net.