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.
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.
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.