It doesn’t take too much to distract us from a task at hand. A loud sound, a brightly colored billboard, or a text notification may be enough to grab a driver’s attention. In fact, distracted driving is the number one cause of automobile collisions. Of course, even professional truck drivers, who strive for accident-free driving, could use a boost when faced with a freeway full of distractions and distracted drivers. Today’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) aim to address these kinds of errors that humans are prone to make. From lane keeping to predictive cruise control, OEMs are constantly looking for a more efficient and cost effective form of heavy transportation and the recent partnership between Navistar and Nauto brings the industry one step closer to that goal.
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Through the use of advanced artificial intelligence (AI), Nauto has created a co-driver for each driver that provides real-time feedback and preemptive warnings while the truck is in motion. Over 1.3 billion miles have been driven with the software to further improve system accuracy and reduce the likelihood of warning fatigue and errors. I had the chance to speak with Stefan Heck, founder and CEO of Nauto, to discuss the impact of the integration of this new technology on the future of driving behavior.
FE: What differentiates it from pre-existing collision avoidance technology?
Heck: What we’ve launched is both adding the collision avoidance element, adapting it to a vehicle, but also using AI for something that had never been done before, giving the driver real-time guidance and feedback while driving.
FE: How does the system work?
Heck: What we do is we use computer vision outdoors to detect things like traffic lights and other vehicles and pedestrians, but we use the same computer vision technologies indoors. interior to see in real time what the driver is doing.
FE: How will the use of AI improve system operations?
Heck: Think of us as an AI co-pilot that will selectively alert the driver. This allows us not only to avoid imminent collisions, but also to alert the driver when he is asleep or when he has not seen the pedestrian or the red light or is looking at his phone for a long time. period. By very selectively alerting the driver to high-risk situations, we are able to make them better at what they do. In our experience, drivers WANT to be good – no one wants to have an accident – and most of the risks a driver takes they are unaware that they are taking that risk. Just by highlighting it, 80% of drivers adapt on their own to become safer.
FE: How is this an improvement compared to traditional training?
Heck: Traditional safety programs kind of take a year or two to get a 20, 30 percent improvement in crash rate. We can make this same change in one to two months. And we also see that it’s not just about 20, 30% reduction losses. We typically see between 50-80% reduction in crashes.
FE: Where does the device live?
Heck: Most of the device mounts on the windshield. It looks outward at the road and inward at driver behavior. It usually runs down the side of the windshield and under the dashboard.
FE: Does the camera record continuously?
Heck: We have the ability to capture small snippets of video around a high risk event. It is therefore not a continuous recording or continuous monitoring of the driver. It’s a common misunderstanding, we don’t do that. It’s really triggered either by a risk event or by the driver who also has the option of manually recording something.
FE: How does the partnership with Navistar strengthen the production of AI software?
Heck: Navistar is one of the best manufacturers of class 6 to 8 trucks. They have a very large footprint. What’s exciting is that you can now have the dealer pre-integrate Nauto into your new truck.
FE: Can it be installed in pre-existing fleets?
Heck: Adding Nauto is a very inexpensive upgrade compared to buying a new truck. It is an attractive option for many fleets. They can get the same safety capability as the latest and greatest truck model, but for the price of an upgrade.
FE: What data can fleet managers get from the system?
Heck: feedback provided to fleet managers is fully configurable. We offer a full range of options from just seeing who is a good driver and who isn’t, but you won’t see a video. More generally, managers will be interested in seeing events above a certain severity, such as collisions.
More from Nauto
For more from the AI guru, check out the previous conversation we had with Nauto Product Manager Yoav Banin: