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The weather alerts for fleet managers leverage advanced technologies to provide condition monitoring and risk assessment across the Lytx network. In-cab weather alerts for drivers are also being tested.

Video safety and telematics provider Lytx has rolled out hazardous weather alerts as a project within the Lytx Lab. All fleet customers will be able to use the new feature, the company announced Oct. 13.

The alerts allow fleet managers to get notifications based on geospatial criteria and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather data to facilitate real-time decision-making for safer and more efficient driving. This new AI-powered geospatial technology was built on the Lytx Vision Platform. It was developed within Lytx Lab, where Lytx engineers and safety experts collaborate with customers to address market needs.

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration reported that 21% of the roughly 5.8 million vehicle crashes yearly are related to adverse weather, including snow, fog, rain, sleet, wind, and blowing debris. Additionally, more than 70% of U.S. roads are located in regions with more than five inches of snow annually.

“Road conditions and the role inclement weather can play on them has a huge impact on drivers and driver safety,” Dan Lambert, Lytx’s senior director of product management, told FleetOwner. “Knowing the high number of vehicle crashes that occur each year due to poor weather conditions and the high costs associated with those, we saw this as a market need and a way for us to expand our AI-powered geospatial solutions.”

Anticipating risks, preventing accidents

Lytx’s Weather Hazard Alerts overlay NOAA weather warnings (including thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes, snow, and more) onto fleet maps. Fleet managers can filter Weather Hazard Alerts by geographic location, timeframe, and type of severe weather. Once the filtered conditions are met, an alert is automatically sent to the fleet manager with a description of the event, an image on the map, how many vehicles may be impacted, and when and where that weather event is forecast to occur.

Rajesh Rudraradhya, Lytx’s chief technology officer, said the new offering combines the power of Lytx’s existing data network with AI that “understands context.” With this combination, Lytx can  provide its customers with insight into enhancing their safety.

“Through the application of machine vision and artificial intelligence technology to analyze vehicle imagery from vehicles in hazardous conditions,” Rudraradhya explained, “we are actively progressing toward the creation of highly localized weather alerts, advancing our predictive intelligence to anticipate potential risks and proactively prevent accidents.”

For a more proactive approach, fleet managers can also view current images from the Lytx network to see weather conditions in real-time on specified routes. This enables more accurate condition assessment and better decision-making.

“With the power and range of our Lytx network combined with near real-time data via our road-facing cameras, we’re able to provide timely and extremely accurate weather information that can help reduce weather-related incidents,” Lambert said.

The Weather Hazard Alerts feature is now available to all U.S. Lytx network fleet managers.

“The customer feedback we’ve received during our development program has allowed us to rapidly surface key insights that ultimately create safer environments for drivers, passengers, and the public,” Lambert added.

The Driver Alerts component is currently being tested with select clients within Lytx Lab, and the testing will be expanded to more drivers and fleets next year, Lambert told FleetOwner. With Driver Alerts, a driver is notified via in-cab audio of weather alerts as they approach hazardous areas, helping them to proactively reroute before encountering unsafe weather.

When winter weather inevitably hits, it’s important that all trucks and their drivers are prepared for any and all contingencies. Here are some important tasks to stay on top …View source to continue reading

How to stay efficient during winter weather

When winter weather inevitably hits, it’s important that all trucks and their drivers are prepared for any and all contingencies. Here are some important tasks to stay on top of throughout the season.

Recent events like the massive weather-induced traffic jam on Interstate 95 remind us of the power of Mother Nature. While this was an extreme case of what can happen in the winter, there are countless stories of drivers getting stranded in winter weather—sometimes because of the weather but sometimes because of equipment failure.

Today’s commercial vehicles are very robust, reliable, and durable, but it is impossible to eliminate 100% of all vehicle breakdowns. Problems occur despite our best intentions. However, there are things fleets can do to minimize the risk of a breakdown. Proper maintenance is critical to the safe and efficient operation of trucks and trailers. And it is never more critical than during the winter. Roadside breakdowns are a pain whenever they occur, but there is added stress if the breakdown occurs in the winter.

During winter, make sure to pay extra attention to some key tasks:

  • Examine the vehicle’s air system to ensure there is no moisture in it that can freeze into ice and cause the system to shut down.
  • Check tire pressure and tread depth because weather can affect inflation.
  • Look at the charge in batteries, which tend to be less efficient in colder temperatures.
  • Remind drivers of the importance of keeping sensors and cameras that are part of the advanced driver assistance systems clear of snow and ice so the systems can operate as designed.

Also remind truckers to drive even more carefully during the winter than they do during other times of the year. Roads can be slick without appearing to be, and one fast acceleration on a slippery road can spell disaster.

It’s also a good idea to suggest your drivers put together a “survival” kit to carry in the cab during the winter. Blankets, water, snacks, and flashlights can all come in handy when the truck and driver are sitting on the side of the road or stuck in a weather-related traffic jam.

As you are reading this, I imagine you are wondering what this has to do with freight efficiency? While it’s true that a truck not moving isn’t using any fuel so one could argue that was very efficient. But trucks are designed to deliver goods, so every time they are sidelined, they are actually very inefficient.

Adding to the inefficiency, when a truck is stuck on the side of the road in the winter, the driver is very likely going to idle the engine to keep warm. As we know, idling is extremely inefficient, but no one can blame the driver for idling the vehicle’s main engine in cold temperatures to keep warm while waiting for a tow or emergency repair.

Since drivers are a key element to a fleet’s success, let’s make sure that—especially in the winter—the trucks are up to date on their maintenance and make sure to give extra attention to components that may be affected by cold weather. While we should hope for the best—no roadside breakdowns during the winter, no weather-related traffic difficulties—we need to prepare for the worst and make sure drivers have a supply of the things that they will need to weather whatever winter throws at them.