Driver Behavior Monitoring Systems: Features and Technologies
Why driver behavior monitoring is necessary and how it can be implemented?
90 percent of road accidents are closely related to driver behavior - sad, but true. Vehicle accidents cause fatalities and injuries, financial losses and lost productivity. They also result in legal and insurance costs. Reckless behavior, like speeding, sudden acceleration and swerving through lanes put other drivers at risk. Worse still, many people don’t even realize they are high-risk drivers.
Dozens of surveys show that recognizing dangerous driving behavior can be a strong motivator for drivers to improve their behavior. Also, when people see the direct relationship between reckless driving or they know that their behavior is being monitored, their driving improves. Monitoring driver behavior can be a silver bullet.
In fact, solutions to curb bad driving are being used by several companies as a part of their Fleet Management Systems (FMS). Transportation companies track, benchmark and train their drivers as well as create more economical and environmentally efficient fleets. They can also be used to maintain corporate and regulatory compliance. Insurance companies use devices and applications to track driver behavior to reduce their costs on insurance settlements and offer their customers more flexible coverage terms.
Government authorities in some countries deploy driver behavior monitoring systems for speed enforcement and mitigate theft and the abuse of equipment. Responsible drivers use various driver behavior monitoring apps to work out safer and greener driving habits and decrease fuel costs.
As a rule, tracking driver’s behavior is done using telemetry devices that are installed on vehicles with software to monitor and analyze the device logs. The most common tools are plug & play GSM/GPS OBDII tracking devices, CANBUS devices, RFID devices, and cameras. The most interesting part of these systems is software. It can be either web-based or cloud-based. Some companies use ready-made solutions and some develop driver behavior monitoring systems that are customized for their fleet.
State-of-the-art driver behavior monitoring technology
The predominant methods used to pinpoint vehicle locations are GPS and GSM services. GPS tracking technology allows tracking real-time individual driving performance as it calculates exactly where something is through sending special satellite signals, which are processed by a receiver. These GPS receivers not only track their exact location but can also compute velocity and time, so the GPS can track the movement of a vehicle or person.
The typical architecture of a GPS tracking system is made up of:
A GPS tracking device which can track and transmit not only vehicle position data but also other information about a vehicle, such as an engine temperature, odometer readings, engine RPM, throttle position, GPRS status and a lot more. Those devices can feature a wide range of communication ports to integrate other onboard systems to check their status.
GPS tracking server: The tracking server receives data from the GPS tracking unit, stores it, and sends this information to the user on demand.
User interface: The UI determines the way the information can be accessed and displays the vehicle data requested by the user.
As mentioned, there is a wide array of vehicle and driver performance tracking software choices both for companies and individuals. Tracking software can use various platforms and can be web-based or installed locally. Smartphones and tablets are also in common use for real-time monitoring and reporting on driver performance. Since 2009 opensource and proprietary applications have been available for:
- · Java ME enabled phones
- · iPhone
- · iPad
- · Android
- · Windows Mobile
According to the software locator tool www.capterra.com, the most common deployment tracking platforms are Cloud, SaaS, Web, and Mobile based, including Android Native and iOS Native.
The automotive telematics market is growing steadily, and it is expected that in 2017 the demand for driver behavior tracking systems will increase and the market will need even more sophisticated products. Customers will search for value-added services providing more options to ensure maximum safety and improve driving behavior and techniques.
Software developers will have to add advanced technologies as connected cars become more trendy. Wireless internet connections, radar, sensors, touch screens, and cameras will need to be taken into account to make the best of automotive telematics technology.
Moreover, as the world becomes more virtualized, software developers have already begun using game mechanics in non-game-oriented contexts and business applications that allow users to socialize, collect achievements and be rewarded while working. This has been put into place with drivers.
Gamification of apps is one of the popular trends in tracking software development. It is much easier for a driver to accept the need to be tracked at work when the tracking software is perceived as a kind of game where they can get scores and rank their performance against their peers, whether colleagues or friends. By getting feedback from a tracking application on their smartphones, drivers are motivated to improve their standings by driving safer.
All in all those systems encourage better driving behavior while tracking metrics such as:
Hard acceleration or braking
Fast lane changes
Other dangerous maneuvers
The systems identify areas of underperformance contributing to accidents, provide alerts to drivers, and transmit reports to the server. Reporting functionality can vary substantially depending on the needs of customers but usually, the main features are:
Driver behavior statistics, including speeding reports (often showing when and for how long a driver exceeds the speed limit)
Here are examples of several driver behavior tracking projects we have worked on.
Greenroad Driving Behavior Monitoring and Safety Management Solution
GreenRoad provides innovative fleet management and driving quality measurement solutions to 3PL transportation companies as well as to companies with their own fleets. The company offers powerful, mobile-based driver behavior monitoring and fleet performance management technology to improve fleet costs, productivity and fleet safety.
GreenRoad needed a reliable outsourcing partner to modernize and improve GreenRoad's web service for its GreenBox solution.
The GreenRoad solution for fleet tracking includes:
- - GreenBox - a tracking device installed in a car that tracks vehicle information and transmits it to the web application;
- - a web management platform;
- - a mobile application.
GreenBox tracks and transmits information such as the speed of the vehicle, analysis of driving modes, environmental impact, and idle time to the web application.
Archer Software developed multiple features for the GreenRoad system to make it a state-of-the-art solution and to add value for GreenRoad’s customers.
The new comprehensive solution delivered by Archer utilizes the latest telematics technologies, and tracks vehicles better, analyzes driver performance and finding ways to improve them.
The key features of the new solutions are:
- - Real-time, in-vehicle feedback on aggressive driving and speeding
- - Real-time vehicle tracking
- - Idling and speed management
- - Configurable dashboards and reports
- - Real-time alerts
- - Anytime, anywhere access via smartphone or tablet
The advanced reporting and feedback options developed by Archer Software help end users improve operational efficiency, significantly cut fuel consumption, insurance and maintenance costs, and increase safety.
Tools and Technologies used in the project: C# 2012 with ASP.NET 4.5, SRSS report technology, WCF, ASP.NET Web API, jQuery, MS SQL 2012, Less
Driving Score Platform
Another driving safety monitoring project to create a system for driver behavior is the Driving Score Platform.
The application UI was built as a general dashboard displaying the time of the trip, trip distance, driver errors, and scores.
The first prototypes of this web-based system and mobile app have already been built and integrated. The system successfully gathers and shows driving score data. Currently, we have integrated the system with FB accounts and we are going to share it with Archer employees to demonstrate the social scenario mentioned in video demo:
Tools and Technologies used in the project: Laravel, Swift
Sound simulator project for electric vehicles
Another project in Archer Software’s automotive portfolio is the sound simulator project for electric vehicles.
This software is aimed to improve the safety of the most vulnerable traffic participants - pedestrians. The main idea of the project is to make sure pedestrians hear cars by simulating engine sounds.
The program synthesizes the sound of an engine depending on the behavior of the car. The sound parameters are changing based on data obtained by the OBD II protocol via a Bluetooth adapter: speed, power consumption, etc.
The program currently runs on Windows and can reproduce any portion of the uploaded audio file. The feature to obtain the data through the ODBII protocol is currently under development. At this phase, we are building a mobile app that will playback the sounds in a way convenient to the driver. Our next step is to create a database of different sounds and provide a community to play and extend it.
Watch this video on how the simulator works:
Tools and Technologies used in the project: .Net, Xamarin, Android
Some important tips for customers who are looking for a driver behavior monitoring solution
Archer Software has some tips for those who want to outsource their software development. These tips will be useful both for established businesses and startups. If you think a driver behavior monitoring system would be useful for you or your company, first you have to find out what exactly you need.
If you are going to use the driver behavior monitoring system for fleet performance management and mobile workforce, you have to define what information you really need. Kelsey Nolan, of Automotive Fleet, attests that “telematics can provide virtually endless data, which can be a drawback if you don’t know what information you want.” In plain English, your software functionality options should fit your needs and must not overwhelm your employees with unnecessary data. That is also important in terms of price – removing unnecessary features mean less time spent on development and a lower price.
The next important thing is the user interface (UI). Buying and using the software is a long-term experience, and to make it collaborative and successful you have to understand how the information you need should be presented. A user-friendly format to present data key to making sure the software used to its full potential. To obtain the best and the most convenient tools for your employees, you should tell the software developer how you want your information to be displayed.
And, of course, you have to pay attention to mobile apps. Cars and fleets are mobile by nature, so it is necessary that your employees can track them any time, any place.
Archer-soft is an experienced, long-term player in the software development market. We have a unique track record in developing web-based and mobile applications (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry), including safety and monitoring apps. For more information about the development of software solutions that are a good fit for your company, contact our experts at email@example.com.