Omnitracs’ New Technology Combats Inattentive Driving By Intervening Before a Disaster

Dallas' Omnitracs, which was recently acquired by Westlake-based Solera, has released SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+ to detect and notify a driver using AI and computer vision to find potential safety-critical behavior. It's solving a problem—inattention—that has become increasingly worse during COVID, according to CTO Ray Ghanbari.

Dallas-based Omnitracs, a pioneer in transportation technology that provides SaaS-based fleet management and data analytics solutions, has released new technology that aims to detect and alert distracted or drowsy drivers.

Omnitracs, which was acquired by Solera, a local global leader in technology, has developed its next generation of SmartSense, a line of intelligent driver-assist sensors and IoT solutions that are meant to identify the most dangerous driving hazards and intervene with drivers before a catastrophic event occurs.

Called SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+, the new iteration utilizes integrated cab-facing cameras and sensors, employing AI and computer vision to find potential risk in driver behavior.  

Distracted driving is a rapidly growing epidemic with 3,142 fatalities in distraction-affected crashes in 2019, according to Omnitracs. That’s a 9.9 percent increase from 2018.

SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+ intends to proactively notify drivers when they are distracted or drowsy, providing immediate in-cab feedback for fleets both large and small. 

“Inattention is a pandemic—and one that has become increasingly worse,” Omnitracs Chief Technology Officer Ray Ghanbari said in a statement. “SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+ addresses this problem head on using advanced technologies and analytics to keep our drivers safe and help all of us get home safely.” 

Omnitracs CTO Ray Ghanbari [Photo: Omnitracs]

Using technology from SmartDrive, which was acquired by Omnitracs in 2020, SmartSense was developed with intelligence rooted in a 20-year history of training and informing sensors. Insights and data from more than 300 million analyzed driving safety events and more than 30 billion miles driven across all transportation sectors impacted the solution.

SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+ has two cameras built into a single unit, making for complete visibility of an entire cab that includes details of the driver’s face, eyes, and hands to identify drowsiness, sleep, phone use, cigarette use, seat belt use, and other safety-critical behaviors. 

Additional features to SmartSense include infrared vision to provide alerts at night, in tunnels, or when drivers wear sunglasses; back-office alerts when camera recording is off; and audible in-cab alarms for drivers.  

Omnitracs says that SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+ enhances the risk detection that is already built into the SmartDrive SR4 platform, making the thousands of vehicles on the road equipped with a more intelligent solution with each and every mile driven. Additional benefits include:  

  • Over-the-air upgrades that allow for new capabilities to be added without costly equipment changes;
  • Easy installation that helps fleets experience quick value; and
  • Wide-angle and zoom-in views that provide context, so detection can be tied to the overall safety program, aiding in determining if there are systemic issues that need to be resolved (like a lack of sleep due to a medical or family issue).

 

Customers of Omnitracs say they are already seeing results from SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+. Conico Oil Safety Manager Mike Goldberg is responsible for fuel distribution operations across what has been acknowledged as the largest and most congested urban area in the U.S. He recognized a growing need to better understand if and when drivers are distracted.

With trucks running 24/7 and shifts starting throughout the day and night, he turned to Omnitracs for help. 

“We needed a solution that proactively alerts drivers and notifies me when a situation occurs,” Goldberg said. “SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+ has helped us reduce both inattentive and drowsy driving. I won’t let any of our drivers hit the road now without it.

SmartSense for Inattentive Driving+ will be available this summer, but is just one of the solutions from Omnitracs.

Omnitracs supplies software to nearly 15,000 trucking industry customers who travel a combined 250 million miles per week, according to the company. Its software handles routing, workflow, compliance, and vehicle safety.

Last month, we told you about Westlake-based Solera Holdings acquiring Omnitracs and Irving-based DealerSocket, a leading SaaS provider to the auto industry.

All three are portfolio companies of Austin-based investment firm Vista Equity Partners. Bloomberg reported in March that Vista was in talks with blank-check firm Apollo Strategic Growth Capital to take Solera public, with the acquisitions that were announced yesterday slated as preparation for a $15 billion deal. But Vista decided to go it alone, according to the DMN.

Vista, founded in 2000 by billionaire Robert Smith, took Solera private in 2016 at a valuation of $6.5 billion. Vista manages more than $75 billion in assets, with a focus on enterprise software, data and tech-enabled companies. It acquired Omnitracs from Qualcomm for $800 million in 2013, and acquired DealerSocket a year later with an equity valuation of around $387 million, according to FreightWaves

With operations in 90+ countries, Solera is a global tech leader in risk management software, supporting connectivity across the vehicle value chain for more than 235,000 customers and partners.

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R E A D   N E X T

  • Westlake-based Solera Holdings Inc. announced it has acquired the two Dallas-area companies, putting Texas firmly on the road toward auto tech dominance. The deal combines three Vista Equity Partners companies into a one-stop shop—adding fuel to rumors of a public offering ahead.

  • The combined company will have an anticipated market value of $491 million. "For the past few years our focus has been exponential growth, mainly in the North American market," the team told us. "The move to public market facilitates this even more."

  • Bird Rides, which operates a fleet of shared electric scooters, has entered a business combination agreement with Switchback II Corporation, a local special purpose acquisition company that focuses on the energy transition sector. The news comes on the heels of scooters potentially returning to the streets of Dallas after being banned last fall.