Solving Ridiculously Tough Fleet Problems with a Time Machine

BY DAVE RIORDAN, EVP AND CHIEF CLIENT OFFICER

Innovation Spotlight

In the classic novel “The Time Machine,” HG Wells wrote, “You are wrong to say that we cannot move about in time. For instance, if I am recalling an incident very vividly I go back to the instant of its occurrence.”

That’s how I know Wells is writing fiction: human recall is completely different than actually going back in time. Our memories are neither comprehensive nor infallible – just ask anyone who’s dealt with an eyewitness to a collision involving one of their drivers. But a time machine? Now that could really come in handy.

How many of us wish we had a real time machine that could serve up events from the past with perfect recall? How much easier would it make responding to customer complaints, or getting to the bottom of missing cargo, or piecing together what happened with a sideswipe? What kind of blind spots could completely disappear?

Normally this space in our newsletter is devoted to addressing an industry issue that keeps you up at night, but this time we’re talking about a time machine, because it could tackle a whole boatload of industry issues that cause countless sleepless nights.

Over the past year, we’ve been testing a new programme that’s a time machine of sorts. Some of our gracious clients and prospects joined our exploration, including NFI Industries, Waste Connections, Grammer Industries, and Two Men and a Truck. They put the programme through its paces to help us fine-tune features and in the process uncovered smart ways to use the technology in more ways than we could have imagined.

The result was introduced at EuroBus 2018, and it’s called the Lytx Video Services programme, available in the US since 2017, is available in the U.K. early next year. In a nutshell, it allows clients to go back to a specific point in time up to a week (about 100 hours) after the fact and see with better clarity and objectivity what happened with their vehicle, using video from more than a dozen different angles.

The video is searchable and taggable – meaning, you can proactively organise video by the kinds of events that are most helpful to informing you about what’s happening in your fleet.

If you transport cargo, you might have a proof-of-delivery tag for every time the trailer door is opened. If your vehicles pick up solid waste, you might have a proof-of-pickup tag every time the trash bin is lifted.  And if you are in transit, you might verify passenger safety every time the wheelchair lift is used, and so on.

Video can be captured by more than 12 cameras – a new Lytx event recorder (ER-SF64 with an on-board DVR), plus up to a dozen additional third-party auxiliary cameras — that are synchronised to give you a more complete picture of what happened. Video clip length is completely customisable up to 20 minutes. You can find more detail about the features of the Lytx Video Services programme here, including the live-stream option for viewing what’s happening around the vehicle in the moment.

Even more compelling, though, are some of the actual questions our clients and prospects were able to answer when testing the programme:

  • Was my driver keeping his lane at the point of a sideswipe?
  • At what point in transit was my cargo stolen?
  • Was my driver following the three-points-of-contact process when exiting the vehicle?
  • Were my customer’s bins emptied, or did the driver skip the stop like the customer claims?
  • Was that a real slip-and-fall on my bus?
  • How many cargo bays were available at the appointed delivery time?
  • Are my drivers following proper safety procedures for loading the tanker with chemicals?
  • How can I help my operator be more effective at passenger management?
  • What was the condition of cargo at the point of pick-up versus the point of delivery?

You get the idea. When you can confidently — and efficiently — answer really tough fleet-related questions like these, you can take decisive action to solve the problem.

The Lytx Video Services programme is our logical next step in expanding the use of video to help our clients. It’s a game-changer because it puts fleet managers in the moment of an event, both in real time and up to a week later. Come to think of it, maybe it’s both a time machine and a teleporter.

Learn more about the Lytx Video Services programme here.

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