Podcast: Big data at ‘tipping point’ for new safety applications

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Updated Apr 8, 2016
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In the Overdrive Radio podcast above, former Schneider National senior vice president Don Osterberg runs through a data-based safety scenario he sees as likely as the next decade and more go by. Osterberg now serves on the advisory board for the SmartDrive dual-camera service and is active at the highest levels of transportation safety research.

So-called “big data,” the profusion of a variety of sensors picking up information from the truck and, increasingly, the driver and spitting it firehose-like back at business owners in trucking, has reached its tipping point where technology can effectively translate it all into something better resembling “big understanding,” he says.

Looking farther out, camera technology as well as biometric monitoring, the use of sensors to read drivers’ vitals in order to produce a daily — or “pick your period,” he says — fitness-for-duty assessment, will both be ubiquitous in trucking, whether voluntarily adopted by fleets and forced on their drivers or regulated into existence. As with electronic logs, speed limiters, and more, the latter case — regulation — will necessarily fall way behind the use of such techs in fleets and among some owner-operators, if mandates materialize at all for cameras and whatever biometric monitors emerge ever materialize.

Some observers believe that’s a big if indeed, though Osterberg is not among them. Bona fide real-time biometric/fatigue monitoring, those observers’ reasoning goes, is a step too far for constitutional privacy protections.

Overdrive goes in much more depth on all of these subjects in Part 2 in the Tomorrow’s Trucker series in this month’s issue, just recently released and available in a digital-magazine format at this link (expect it to follow shortly here on OverdriveOnline.com and to hit subscribers’ physical mailboxes later in the month).

For now, hear what Osterberg, known well during his time at Schneider for his boosting for safety technologies writ large, has to say on the subject of the fast pace of technological development today — and the trucking industry’s response. Take a listen below: