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July 1, 2020 10:00 AM, EDT

Samsara Unveils AI Products to Predict, Prevent Accidents

SamsaraSamsara's San Francisco headquarters. (Samsara)

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Samsara, a fleet management software company, unveiled a suite of safety features that uses artificial intelligence to help prevent accidents, the company announced July 1.

The safety features are designed to better identify critical safety data. The AI component seeks to prevent accidents by monitoring driver behavior. This data is relayed back to the driver in real time and can tailor safety programs.

“The first item is really about moving from a reactive approach to safety to something that is more proactive or preventative,” Ingo Wiegand, director of product management at Samsara, told Transport Topics. “That’s really where the new artificial intelligence, the real-time features, come into play.”

Samsara AI Dash Cams detect high-risk behavior such as tailgating and distracted driving. They are dual-facing which allows the software and safety managers to see what’s on the road and in the cab. The system can trigger an optional real-time alert if it detects risky behavior.

“If you think about how safety has worked in the past, it’s really about post-crash coaching,” Wiegand said. “Someone slams on the brakes, someone gets into an accident. You can record that, you can coach the driver on it. But the incident had to have happened for you to see it.”

San Francisco-based Samsara stressed the importance of combining preventative technology and data-driven insights for fleet safety.

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“The big thing here is with the cameras and artificial intelligence, we’re really able to home in on behaviors that are leading indicators of risky behaviors,” Wiegand said. “That can help intercept and coach drivers on the fly in real-time.”

The data also will be used to create a “configurable” safety score for each driver to help improve driving over time. Executives at trucking companies will have the option to adjust how the scores are calculated based on their own priorities and goals.

“We wanted to make sure companies can home in on their priorities for safety which is why the second feature we are launching this week is the configurable safety score,” Wiegand said. “Safety is not really a one size-fits-all. Different organizations have different priorities.”

The new bundle of features also includes enhanced safety reporting options intended to allow companies to better determine trends and root causes.

“The third item really ties everything together with more advanced reporting,” Wiegand said. “We basically expanded our regular safety reporting capabilities by providing a lot more insights.”

Wiegand

Wiegand

Samsara’s testing phase lasted for about seven months and involved a handful of companies.

One of the companies was SeniorCare EMS. It used the features during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re able to coach employees on the road,” Robert Ackerman, safety director at SeniorCare EMS, said in a statement. “We have seen many instances where the camera alerts the driver to distracted driving or tailgating, and they’re able to avoid an accident.”

The system can also work alongside an ecosystem of other sensors provided by the company, including environmental monitors and telematics software that can track engine diagnostics along with fuel and battery levels.

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