Smart wearable devices may dramatically impact the future of trucking industry by playing a key role in fleet safety. Wearable devices enable fleet managers to send up-to-date communications to truckers and thereby enhance communication between drivers and managers.
Since the introduction of smartphones and tablets to the cabs, wearable devices, such as Bluetooth-enabled headset, has been a staple for trucker drivers, making hands-free voice communication a daily part of a driver’s life, reports Samsung Insights.
Wearables can benefit the trucking industry greatly by allowing the wearer to access data from anywhere.
“These devices can bring significant advantages in the areas of driver performance, driver safety and security, and driver health,” said Bart De Muynck, research director at Gartner.
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Smartwatches are slowly replacing smartphones and tablets among drivers to help them communicate and manage their workflow.
“Ideal for quick notifications or alerts, Samsung wearables such as the Galaxy Watch can also be customized to enhance productivity for workers whose job responsibilities require hands-free access to data. In transportation, fleet managers could send route updates and other information to a smartwatch for quick driver reference, and drivers could also use smartwatches to view their hours of service, allowing them to stay up to date at a glance,” said the Samsung Insights report.
Apps such as PeopleNet’s ConnectedDriver allows drivers to send or receive messages via their trucks’ telematics and communications systems.
Developers are also working on smartwatch apps that connect to the truck’s telematics system to track events such as rapid acceleration, hard braking and on-time arrivals. This data allows managers to gamify fleet safety by rating a driver’s performance against their peers. It’s easy for drivers to quickly glance down at their smartwatches to view their data, and it can encourage healthy competition among drivers to get the best scores.
Haptic feedback is another benefit offered by the smartwatch. A watch can vibrate or tap the wearer, as an alert to get the driver’s attention but not distracting their gaze while driving.
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Smartwatches can also:
- Improve Driver Performance by tracking driver activity on and off the job, helping improve fleet safety by reducing fatigue-related accidents.
- Improve Vehicle Safety by sending a vibration alert to a driver making a lane change if a car is detected in the truck’s blind spot.
- Improve Driver Safety by sending an alert to fleet headquarters or call 911 with one button press in case of an emergency.
Other forms of wearables can also ensure performance and safety in a fleet. For example, sensor-equipped helmets and hats can monitor drivers for fatigue; or a smart shirt, equipped with biometric sensors, can track a driver’s physiology to develop health and fitness indicators that could lead to better health and performance.