How To Make The Best Of Advanced Safety Technology

Upgraded technology serving as a vice instead of a virtue? A fleet manager would relate!

Have you ever taken a sneak peek into your fleet vehicle to find the lane departure warning or blind spot monitoring disabled? Are you perplexed with the annoyance reported by the drivers in your fleet when all this piece of technology was supposed to serve was more convenience and safety? Perhaps you’d be glad to find more than a bunch in your situation.

ADAS – advanced driver assistance systems, was built with a potential to curtail crashes. Various surveys however suggest that this technology has more or less failed to serve its purpose due to a misperception.

A study by an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) stated that drivers often fail to understand important information communicated by system displays. The J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Tech Experience Index Study pointed out that drivers often disable the ADAS due to its annoying nature.

Nevertheless, every technology comes in with its own set of pros and cons. While fleet managers find themselves in a web as they lay their focus on the cons of ADAS, this piece of technology, if understood with keen interest, is more pro safety. Let us first understand this technology and how it works towards preventing crashes in detail.

Crash Prevention Techniques

The IIHS has explained Crash Prevention techniques in an elaborate manner.

Front Crash Protection

Cameras, radar, or light detection and ranging (LIDAR), are used as sensors to detect and maintain a safe distance from vehicles in the front. A warning statement or beep is made to alarm the driver if he crosses the “safe distance” parameter. The brakes of the vehicle are automatically pre-charged to maximize the braking effect by the driver. In case the driver fails to respond to the warning in due time, the system will bring the vehicle to rest on its own.

Lane Switch/Prevention

A camera constantly monitors the vehicle’s position within a lane alarming the driver in case he’s slanting out without indication. These alarms are either audible or haptic. Some crash prevention systems feature a mild steering wheel adjustment or slight braking to avoid switching of lane without prior indication.

The Blind Spot

The blind spot is usually at the side of a vehicle. This spot is monitored by a camera and visual or audio alerts are given to the driver indicating a vehicle spotted around the blind spot. Some crash prevention systems feature a mild steering wheel adjustment of slight braking to maintain lane discipline and avoid a mishap.

Rear Crash Prevention

With cameras and sensors at the back of a vehicle, the rear view is magnified for a driver in comparison with the usual mirror view or peeping out procedure. For some vehicles, a rear view camera is an absolute requirement due to the vehicle structure. Often, camera systems, as well as systems that use radar or ultrasonic sensors, warn the driver if there are objects in the way while reversing. The rear cross-traffic alert system detects vehicles that are bound to cross from either side and behind the vehicle. These systems also feature a mild steering wheel adjustment of slight braking to avoid a collision.

Based on a couple of studies and surveys, let me now discuss with you the pros and cons of the ADAS.

Pros of ADAS

If perceived correctly, the crash prevention system comes with a myriad of benefits. A few to mention are;

  • The advanced driver assistance system helps avoid crashes due to its sensor and camera technology.
  • Light braking and pre charging brakes to intensify sudden braking is extremely helpful in emergencies.
  • The safety system alerts drivers in case they doze off behind the wheel while driving.
  • It helps with maintaining lane discipline.
  • It more or less solves the issue of blind spot while driving.
  • The level of automation in today’s day and age is built to improve safety.
  • Drivers get ample time to avoid a crash due to the alerting feature.

Cons of ADAS

Unfortunately, the safety technology can prove to be more harmful than helpful if not used correctly. A few surveys have mentioned how the safety system has turned into an ironic disadvantage instead.

  • Drivers become more reliant on the safety system, thus engaging themselves in other stuff while driving. In most cases drivers tend to fall asleep.
  • Drivers have found the alerts to be very annoying and hence turn them off altogether.
  • The robotic feature of the safety system often cannot differentiate between a real obstacle and something that isn’t really an obstacle. This factor shocks drivers as they don’t see any necessity for sudden braking or nagging alerts.
  • Drivers don’t really understand the purpose and safety alerts well, thus do not make proper use of the assistance system.

How can a Fleet Manager get his drivers accustomed to this technology?

As a fleet manager, you need to train your drivers to use the safety system to their advantage. You also need to educate your fleet to operate the system effectively. Drivers also need to understand what every alert indication actually means.

A fleet manager should also understand what features are nagging and what features are really helpful for his fleet by being mindful of which specific safety technology they have a vested interest in.

The Risk Factor

Every technology features its own vices and virtues. The ADAS only covers a fraction of behaviours that can be obtained from a vehicle, including telematics data, which should be recorded, collated, and analysed. 

Safety systems often require the driver to take charge of the situation in time which is challenging if the driver is drowsy or inattentive.

The safety system is more risky if not attended to properly in larger vehicles like trucks, etc.

Truck fleet managers should foster pre-trip inspections and issue guidelines to every driver in their fleet.

Note that the safety system you choose for your fleet is updated time and again. Vehicles that are four or five years old have higher rates of false positives while newer systems have a very low rate for the same.

For any assistance or additional information safety systems and fleet management system, you could visit us at Matrack Inc

Automobile Industry Down With Corona Virus Infection

  • A sneak peek into the global automobile scenario

As the Coronavirus spreads its wings across the globe, it has begun to ax the automobile industry putting thousands of jobs at stake. A projection estimated a loss of 94,400 jobs vaguely and $7.3 billion in total earnings of the sector for every week of compromised purchases. Large companies such as Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, Toyota, and General Motors have shut down their operations. The factory closure is having a significant impact on each of these big companies in multiple ways. On the other hand, we have major sports leagues suspending their seasons, schools being shut, large gathering being discouraged and the travel trend at a standstill dousing the travel industry with heavy losses. Let us have a look at these in detail

  • Big Bang for the Big three and others: Ford, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and others shut down operations

The first automaker to confirm a coronavirus case recently was none other than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. While the victim of the virus is now receiving required medical attention, a number of workers that were in contact with the victim are being quarantined. This number has not been revealed yet.

While Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors have put their white-collar employees on a work from the home mandate, Detroit’s Big Three Automakers formed a task force with the United Auto Workers Union to contemplate new ways to safeguard their working on an hourly payroll from the coronavirus outbreak trying their utmost best to keep their U.S. parts and assembly lines functional. However, the Big Three have ultimately shut down their plants over coronavirus concerns for sanitization purposes until the 30th of March. Morgan Stanley now predicts the U.S. demand for new cars will plummet to 15.5 million, down from last year’s 17.1 million vehicles.

  • Coronavirus impact on the other Automotive companies in Europe and other parts of the world

Factories in Pomigliano d’Arco, Melfi, Atessa and Cassino are temporarily shut by fiat while plants in its home market, Italy have been indefinitely closed. A compilation of these facilities produces about 600,000 vehicles on an annual basis. This makes for about 4 percent of total European output.

As the pandemic spread across Europe, Volkswagen is shutting down most of its assembly plants for two weeks, announced the German automaker, recently. CEO Herbert Diess confirmed a shutdown across the continent for fourteen days, Friday is the last shift for its employees.

The root place of the coronavirus, China, has however started seeing a significant decline in the cases of COVID-19 now. Plants that were shut down in late January and early February have been reopened recently by their respective automakers.

It is still impossible to predict how soon everyone will acquire its normal shape in China’s automobile sector. As of now, multiple shutdowns have caused struggle forcing closures of Hyundai plants in South Korea due to the automaker’s heavy dependence on Chinese parts suppliers. Most manufacturers in the United States had been clutching on to industry backlogs to minimize the impact. However, experts suggest that the same may no longer be possible.

  • No more. Crowding means no more auto shows

Discouragement of large gatherings has led to unfortunate delays or cancellations of multiple auto shows that historically help build excitement among potential buyers. The popular Geneva International Motor Show was scrapped for the first time in 90 years, this month. The Beijing Motor Show is being indefinitely postponed while the New York International Auto Show will be postponed from April to August. The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is uncertain of going ahead as per plan. This year it was to take place in June instead of the usual January.

  • Things turning out positive

On the brighter side, Toyota has reopened one of its Chinese plants in Guangzhou. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that the automobile sector is witnessing an extended series of gloomy days in the United States as well as globally.

Michael Dunne, the founder of automotive consulting firm ZoZo Go, informed NBC News that, “Companies are starting up operations but they are far from full strength. Still, millions of migrant laborers are making their way back to work, passing through quarantine procedures.”

  • What we feel

Charles Dcosta, a vice president with Matrack suggests, “There’s no telling how widespread or long-lasting the ripple effect of the coronavirus will be for the automotive industry. But it is true that the impact will be a long way from recovery in the short run. Compare will have to be brave and face the situation and come out of it in a gradual and phased manner. ”

According to data from the Centre for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, due to the effects of COVID-19, a dip in auto sales in the U.S. for a single week could have staggering ripple effects on the broader economy. A week of zero sales in the automobile sector would mean a loss of 94,400 jobs vaguely and $7.3 billion in total earnings of the same, roughly.

  • The verdict

It is being expected that this virus outbreak may slow down global economic growth by 0.2%-0.3% in the year 2020. The Coronavirus has surpassed the severity level of the SARS outbreak that took place in 2002-2003, and it is expected to have an impact on China’s GDP significantly.

It is still too early to gauge the complete impact of the outbreak of Coronavirus on the new as well as an established business. But still, several companies have accepted the fact that the virus is affecting their business in varying degrees.

Emergency Declaration- FMCSA Expands HOS

In response to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak across the globe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers on 18th March 2020. These expanded hours are however applicable to only those drivers that transport emergency supplies corresponding with COVID-19.

The expanded declaration by the FMCSA renders relief to commercial motor vehicles (CMV) operations underpinning emergency attempts solely for the current needs of the outbreak. For instance:

  • Transporting equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment or any other medical supply of COVID -19
  • Raw material like plastic, paper, alcohol, etc. essential for the manufacturing of essential commodities.
  • Fuel
  • Individuals and equipment supplies necessary for maintaining temporary quarantine.
  • Designated persons by federal, state or local authorities for quarantine or medical isolation.
  • Persons necessary for provision of medical of emergency service.
  • Community safety related commodities and supplies like sanitation and preventive measure material to cease community transmission like disinfectants, gloves, hand sanitizers, masks, soaps, etc.
  • Transportation for restocking of basic commodities like food, paper products and other groceries, to distribution centres and local shops.

The expanded declaration has been set forth with a precondition that it does not apply to routine commercial deliveries. Therefore, routine commercial deliveries or deliveries with a minimal amount of material that qualifies for emergency requirement or mixed load are not granted advantage of this expanded declaration.

It is also a mandate that a driver transporting property must receive a minimum of 10 hours off-duty and a driver transporting passengers must receive a minimum of 8 hours off-duty, after completing a single delivery.

“Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce,” the declaration said.

“Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399,” has also been stated by the declaration.

It is also important to note that motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not permitted to benefit from the relief granted by this declaration. However, if the aforementioned has the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA, they might as well adhere to the expanded declaration.

The FMCSA has stated that it is for the first time in history that they have issued nationwide relief through its emergency declaration. They have also followed President Donald Trump issuing a national emergency declaration in response to the virus.

“The nation’s truck drivers are on the front lines of this effort and are critical to America’s supply chain,” Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a statement.

“Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, FMCSA is providing additional regulatory relief to our nation’s commercial drivers to get critically important medical supplies, food and household goods to Americans in need,” FMCSA acting Administrator Jim Mullen said in a statement. “We will continue to support them and use our authority to protect the health and safety of the American people.”

For additional information on FMCSA rules and regulations you could visit us at MatrackInc