Pinning down driver risk

GeoLogic Solutions Inc. ( is the new name for the company that previously was the transportation division of Aether Systems. Platinum Equity, a global investment firm specializing in the operation of mission-critical and solutions companies, acquired the Aether division in September.

Cube Route ( – a provider of routing, tracking and planning services – announced that it has added GPS tracking and out-of-area coverage to its service offering, further improving vehicle management and information capture. Cube Route Mobile operates on any Java-based, GPS-enabled wireless device such as a cell phone.

TMW Systems ( introduced The Dawg – a business activity monitoring tool that acts as a “watchdog” that scans every transaction and automatically flags exceptions so that carriers can take immediate corrective action. The Dawg works in conjunction with ResultsNow by TMW, a web-based performance monitoring application that constantly measures and reports the carrier’s performance versus established key indicators.

Carrier Logistics Inc. (, a provider of computer systems for the LTL and related trucking industry segments, launched an LTL web forum for the exchange of ideas, information and even humor. The forum may be accessed via CLI’s website by clicking on the Transport Forum link on the menu.

Xora Inc. ( has released Xora GPS TimeTrack 2.0, its second-generation hosted software application that runs on GPS-enabled phones and helps managers of field-service organizations keep track of mobile workers’ activities and billable hours. The new version features Smart-Job Zones, which enables geofences around a given geographic area for tracking when a worker starts and stops a job.

SiriComm Inc. ( has launched InTouch, which uses the network of SiriComm Wi-Fi hotspots installed at Pilot Travel Centers nationwide. Each of three service plans provides unlimited Internet access during the subscription period using the 802.11g standard.

Networkcar ( received a contract to provide Networkfleet units for vehicles at five Marine Corp locations in California. The web-based Networkfleet collects and organizes information from a vehicle’s engine computer and location-based information from GPS. Fleets can monitor items such as current location, mpg, mileage, emission status and speed.

The primary purpose of any safety program is to reduce risk. But in order to judge the risk presented by, for example, a driver, you must be able to reduce risk to a number. That has always been challenging because carriers tend to look at drivers both objectively and subjectively.

Technology helps carriers tackle some of the challenges. Some fleets use onboard computing and fleet management solutions to monitor and evaluate driver performance by capturing data from the vehicle’s electronics system. Speeding and hard-braking incidents – which may indicate tailgating, for example – are sent through wireless communications for a fleet manager to review on a weekly, daily or even real-time basis.

But integration with the vehicle’s electronics only provides a piece of the puzzle of what goes on behind the wheel. A driver may tailgate without a hard-braking event, or he may apply his brakes due to a sudden cut-in from another vehicle. A driver also may have a habit of changing lanes or taking curves too fast.

One of the latest efforts in monitoring driver behavior comes from a trucking executive, Tom deWaal, who developed a proprietary onboard computing and wireless fleet management solution called Eluminor ( Eluminor uses data and video recording to monitor a wide range of driving behaviors, including speeding, lane departures, tailgating, hard deceleration, hard acceleration and hours of service, says deWaal, president of Calgary, Alberta-based East West Express.

The backbone of the Eluminor system is an onboard “black box” computer and vision system. The vision system consists of a small camera that mounts on the front windshield. The system records a video image and tracks vehicles on the road ahead, providing range, relative speed and lane position data. The system also identifies lane markings and measures the distance from the vehicle to the markings, deWaal says.

Eluminor provides the driver with audible and visual warnings for forward collision and lane departures. Exception data of unsafe events is transmitted via a cellular network to web-based software to calculate a single number for the risk index of each driver, deWaal says.

Eluminor uses a cumulative scoring system for each violation, such as speeding, that records the violations in context of the total time or distance traveled. Each category is assigned a number, from 1 (excellent) to 5, based on a fleet’s parameters for each violation. An excellent rating for speeding events, for example, would be between 0 and 0.33 percent of the total driving time, deWaal says. The numbers for each category are weighted by a percentage, according to the value a fleet assigns to each category, and totaled. The result is a single number – the risk index.

The cost of Eluminor is about $4,000, he says, and will be available commercially early in 2005. The cost is much less than it would be for a fleet to buy separate wireless fleet management solutions, such as office-to-driver communications and forward-collision and lane-departure-warning systems, says deWaal, who is in the process of implementing Eluminor in his 55-truck fleet.

Acculeon ( offers another new example of technology for monitoring driver behavior that integrates several sources of information. The Acculeon Telemetry Information System (TIS) consists of three components: a small in-vehicle black box, a communications infrastructure – cellular or Wi-Fi – and web-based analysis and report generation software.

The TIS includes a GPS receiver, an onboard geographical map database and hardware that captures and records driver events through the use of inertial sensors that track frequent lane changes at high speeds and turns that are taken too tightly. The database provides information about road geometry and speed limits of the road segment. A built-in accelerometer also tracks rapid acceleration, sudden stops and tailgating events.

The cost of the TIS is about $300 to $500 depending on volume, says Mahesh Chowdhary, Acculeon’s chief technology officer and co-founder. The system also has a monthly subscription fee of $22 to $25 per month to use the web-based interface that can calculate a risk index for each driver, Chowdhary says.

The ability to quantify a driver’s risk index makes it possible to better manage driver training and create comprehensive incentive-based safety programs. In addition, both deWaal and Chowdhary say that insurance companies are receptive to the concept of basing premiums on a pay-as-you-drive basis. In other words, an insurance carrier could condition a rate on the basis that a fleet maintain a certain risk index and review the number every quarter.

What is it?

An extranet is an extension of a company’s intranet out onto the Internet, allowing selected customers, suppliers and mobile workers to access the company’s private data and applications via the web. Generally an extranet implies real-time access through a firewall of some kind.

New customers
GeoLogic Solutions ( said Southeastern Freight Lines will equip its LTL fleet of nearly 2,000 trucks with a customized version of GeoLogic’s MobileMax Multi-Mode system. Southeastern will integrate its handheld computer and vehicle applications with the MobileMax multi-mode network.

Prophesy Transportation Solutions ( said Brubaker Transfer Inc. – a 70-truck carrier based in Goodfield, Ill. – has integrated Prophesy Mobile Comm with its existing Prophesy Dispatch software, allowing critical load data to be sent to the driver automatically and data collected by Nextel GPS-enabled phones to flow directly into the dispatch software.

Maddocks Systems ( said Wilmington, N.C.-based intermodal carrier MCO Transport has selected Maddocks TruckMate for Windows (TM4Win) as its new enterprise-wide trucking software solution.

Iteris ( said Little Rock, Ark.-based Maverick Transportation will install Iteris’ Lane Departure Warning System on the carrier’s fleet of 1,000 trucks. Maverick began deployment in December and expects to have its fleet fully outfitted within one year.