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April 10, 2018 9:45 AM, EDT

Investors, Fleets Back Video-Based Telematics

SmartDrive camera SmartDrive Systems

A pair of recent events helped underscore the key role video is playing in fleet operations: Lytx, a video telematics provider, received a $700 million capital infusion from private equity firms; and Penske Logistics launched a video-based safety program in 2,800 of its heavy-duty trucks in its North America operations using equipment from SmartDrive Systems.

Lytx reported the new investment by Clearlake Capital Group and Guggenheim Investments lifts its “enterprise value” in excess of $1.5 billion. Total enterprise value is defined as the market capitalization plus debt, minority interest and preferred shares, minus total cash and cash equivalents.

Lytx logo

“This investment comes at a critical phase in the evolution of data and video telematics and is perfectly timed with the next wave of machine vision and artificial intelligence services for fleets,” Lytx Chairman and CEO Brandon Nixon said in a statement.

“We are now poised to leverage this technology, along with our vast amount of driving data, to help our clients solve their toughest operational problems, and keep their workers safe,” Nixon added.

At the same time, Lytx announced it has added 300,000 subscriptions over the past three years and now has 500,000 total subscriptions among commercial and government fleets. In a recent report, industry research firm Frost & Sullivan reported Lytx’s market share at more than 60% of the video telematics market, according to San Diego-based Lytx.

Among its products are the Lytx DriveCam video safety program, its Video Services interface into fleet operations and its ActiveVision service that helps fleets detect and address distracted and drowsy driving, both in real time and over time.

Lytx is a unit of private investment firm GCTR, which bought the company in 2016.

Penske Logistics logo

Meanwhile, Penske Logistics said its video-based safety program includes event-triggered onboard cameras from SmartDrive that face inside the truck cab, and outward to the road, along with an ongoing driver safety coaching program.

San Diego-based SmartDrive provides fleets with video analysis, predictive analytics and a personalized performance program.

Penske Logistics ranks No. 21 on the 2017 Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America. It ranks No. 12 on the 2018 TT list of the 50 largest logistics companies in North America. Penske Logistics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Truck Leasing.

Its new video-based safety program further enhances other safety-related technologies increasingly deployed within the Penske Logistics dedicated carriage fleet including backup alarms, collision-avoidance and lane-departure systems, stability control systems, air disc brakes, electronic driver logs, onboard telematics and vehicle diagnostics systems, speed governors, and advanced visibility LED headlights, according to the Reading, Pa.-based company.

“A key component of this technology is the ongoing driver safety coaching program that accompanies it,” Jason Herr, Penske Logistics vice president of safety, said in a statement. “Using the footage, we’re able to review incidents and coach drivers to be better and safer drivers. During a pilot program last year, results of the video-based safety program proved promising, as we saw significant reductions in total incidents and improved safety scores for our truck drivers at all locations.”