From Analog to AI: Exploring 25 Years of Safety Innovations with Lytx Senior Director of Product Management, Kristin Costas
Over the past 25 years, Lytx has been at the forefront of pioneering technologies and strategies that save lives on the road and revolutionize the way fleets and drivers think about safety. We sat down with Lytx’s Senior Director of Product Management, Kristin Costas, to explore her perspective on the past 25 years of safety innovations. She tells us what commercial road safety was like in the late nineties, how video and telematics technologies have evolved to support safety, and what’s next for safer driving in 2024 and beyond.
Paint for us the picture of commercial road safety and the state of telematics prior to 1998.
Prior to 1998, there was very little technology being used for commercial road safety. Other than the regulations that original equipment manufacturers had around vehicle manufacturing safety and some very early tracking capabilities, most fleets relied on driver training and hoped that drivers would do the right thing.
How has video telematics technology evolved to support safety? What have been some of the biggest milestones in your opinion?
Safety is the primary use case for video telematics. Prior to video complimenting telematics, providers relied on basic information to conclude that there was risk in a fleet. The best example of this is measuring safety by using generic braking, accelerating, and cornering data. Some non-video telematics offerings still rely on this for measuring driving safety.
Video enables identification of root cause behavior like not having sufficient following distance, using a cell phone, and the general awareness-state of the driver in risky situations like intersections.
Other milestones in video telematics to support safety include the introduction of continual monitoring for risky behavior, the use of machine vision and artificial intelligence (MV+AI)† to detect non-accelerometer-based risk, and the innovations around giving drivers more geospatial context complimented by video to inform safe routing.
How have coaching and safety technologies evolved in parallel of one another?
With more risk identification happening on the technology side, coaching has had to scale alongside it. Prior to continual monitoring and MV+AI, there was a reasonable amount of risk to warrant face-to-face, coach-to-driver intervention. As the volume of risk increases, in-cab alerting, driver self-coaching, and threshold coaching based on risk-scores all give fleets the ability to design custom coaching programs for a variety of needs, so fleets can scale their coaching without forgoing the value of addressing such risk.
What has been the biggest advancement in video telematics safety in the last 25 years from your perspective?
I’d have to say MV+AI. The ability to detect behavior when there is no vehicle-based sensor from the accelerometer has been a true game-changer when it comes to video telematics. It truly helps identify risky behaviors that, with proper identification and coaching, can be mitigated for safer driving at scale.
Are there any gaps you see when it comes to fleet safety in 2024 and beyond?
When fleets have deep divides between safety and operations, there is always value being left behind. Improving fleet safety can improve operations, and vice versa. But within an organization, there must be a deep understanding on both sides of what good looks like. A safety manager must understand that the fleet’s operations are critical to the organization’s success, and the operations manager should have a deep appreciation that safety can lead to a highly effective and efficient fleet.
The mindset that best-in-class safety means you must forego operational value is incorrect, yet it is still prevalent across fleets. From a technology standpoint, vendors can do more to bring these worlds together. Operational data and workflows can complement safety solutions, and they should.
Give us a sneak peek. What are some of the safety solutions on the horizon at Lytx?
Lytx is always pushing the needle on more and better risk identification. Our philosophy remains unchanged from 25 years ago. Capturing root-cause behaviors is critical to changing said behavior. From pedestrian detection to robust speeding solutions, we strive to be the leader in risk detection and mitigation solutions.
Want to learn more about the last 25 years of safety innovations at Lytx? Check out our '25 Years of Saving Lives at Lytx' timeline to see how far the landscape of fleet safety and video telematics have come.