While driverless cars steal the “visionary” media headlines, other technologies are already having a profound impact on South Africa’s roads…

The technology boom is changing many aspects of life, from how we socialise and share news through to how we drive. In fact, while the concept of driverless cars is gaining considerable traction relating to their impact for future use, existing technologies are already changing the way we think about driving, notes Cartrack South Africa CEO, Andre Ittmann.

“South Africa has a high road accident rate and our country’s roads are heavily used by commercial vehicles of all types, which results in driver management becoming an onerous and expensive exercise, with high-risk levels for commercial fleets. However, new technologies are helping companies of all sizes to manage these risks, while simultaneously dramatically improving driver performance.”

An example of these technologies is Cartrack’s new product, Live Vision, a flexible, comprehensive and easy-to-use four-camera vehicle video system, that keeps fleet owners in visual contact with their fleets through video event recording and transmission technology offering local and cross boarder coverage.

Through access to real-time footage and tracking tools of vehicle and driver performance on the road, this sophisticated system aids the improvement of driving skills, controls costs and offers protection against legal liability.

Footage is instantly accessible instantly via an app or web interface, and is also archived for later use, if necessary sophisticated system aids the improvement of driving skills, controls costs and offers protection against legal liability.

Crucially, as fleet managers enjoy access to a clear video record of accident and other events, legal confusion and costs are simplified and eliminated in some cases.

“The technology allows for better productivity from a vehicle, ensuring that this asset is used to its maximum capacity,” says Ittmann.

“For example, improving driver performance reduces collisions, and also brings down operational and maintenance costs relating to tyres, brakes and fuel use. Equally, the tool protects and vindicates drivers and companies in accident situations, while fraud is reduced and claims are resolved quickly and accurately thanks to there being clear, visual proof of driving incidents. This proof can also be used for coaching, which is important in reinforcing a company’s commitment to the safety of its employees.”

The Live Vision system contains up to four cameras that are connected to a control unit and recorded and stored on-board 24/7. The video footage can be paired with location and speed information, and subsequently, fleet owners receive more accurate information and a fully detailed version of any event. The Live Vision operating system, together with the Cartrack tracking unit, allows for the setting up of geofences2 and Points of Interest (POI) for both location purposes and event management. Events can therefore be set to be triggered upon vehicles entering, exiting or experiencing extended times in geo-zones. Live Vision’s on-board visual equipment includes a primary camera that records video footage of a 120-degree exterior view of the road ahead, as well as a secondary driver camera that provides a 100-degree view of the vehicle cab, including infrared illumination for low-light conditions. The third and fourth cameras are placed according to client requirements.

“The extensive nature of the footage means the event can be analysed by management to coach the driver, to action the event, or for any other processes. The footage spells out exactly what actions led to the event, how it was handled and what the outcome was,” adds Ittmann.

The system also has various accessories, such as microphones and speakers, a panic button, door switches and other inputs able to trigger events.

Live Vision is available on a monthly subscription service and cash option which covers software services and support. Although it is relatively new to the market, Ittmann concludes that the tool has already proved to be an invaluable tool for organisations, fleet managers and drivers.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive. These technologies improve risk management and productivity dramatically, and as the technology evolves, the technical ability and performance of the product will only improve. It has also been interesting to note that a lot of positive feedback comes from drivers themselves, who really seem to value the opportunity to develop their skills.”