Monday, October 10, 2016

New camera system lets bosses see you in real time

Here’s looking at you, trucker. Some driver-facing cameras will soon be able to see a lot more than they used to.

Lytx, the largest supplier of camera-based technology for trucking, has introduced Unisyn, a platform that allows Lytx customers to custom configure cameras on their trucks. According to a Lytx press release, fleets “can access, review, and manage video ... when, where, and how they want, in real time, or a few days after an incident.”  

Lytx made the announcement in conjunction with the recent 2016 ATA Management Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.

Lytx Senior Director of Corporate Communications Gretchen Griswold confirmed the Unisyn customization applies to all Unisyn onboard cameras -- including a driver-facing camera if there is one. But Unisyn is really designed for cargo security, not driver monitoring, she noted.

Launched in 1998 and originally known as DriveCam, Lytx is the largest provider of video-based safety systems for trucking. DriveCam is still the name of the company’s flagship video program. Fleets using DriveCam include Swift Transportation, NFI, Dart Transit and US Foods, the sixth-largest private fleet in North America.

Griswold explained the Unisyn platform is separate from and does not apply to current DriveCam cameras.

A Lytx DriveCam driver-facing camera records in a loop, continuously overwriting its memory. When triggered by an event like hard braking or a collision, however, the system saves the video from 10 seconds before and 10 seconds after the trigger. That video is sent to a cloud server where fleet managers can review driver actions alongside video from a forward-aimed camera.

Unisyn is different. Its “always on” feature enables a camera to record at times of management’s choosing for up to seven consecutive days. It also enables managers to see what the camera sees in real time, virtually live. According to Lytx, the Unisyn platform can synchronize all cameras on a truck. They can include a driver-facing camera.

Would a driver-facing Unisyn camera alert a driver he or she is being recorded or observed?

“There are no lights on the Unisyn cameras indicating that recording or real-time viewing is taking place,” Griswold explained. “That’s for two reasons: These cameras aren’t anticipated to be driver-facing, and a key objective of the Unisyn platform is cargo security. Lights would alert would-be thieves that they are being monitored.”

Unisyn cameras can capture and record activity outside the truck. Cameras can show a forward view, side view, rear view, cargo interior, or a view of the dock or warehouse a truck is backed into. That camera could establish that a truck was actually there and confirm loading and unloading activity. It might even provide proof of delivery.

Unisyn was not the only Lytx announcement at the ATA convention. The company also introduced updates to the DriveCam system, including new video trigger events.

For example, the new Rolling Stop trigger trips when a driver goes through a posted stop sign without coming to a complete stop while the new Roll Stability trigger detects activation of a third-party roll-stability system.