Innovative blind spot prevention system assists heavy vehicle operators

rcw-news-blackmoth-medIn 2012, waste management service provider JJ Richards & Sons was looking to improve its fleet of heavy vehicles with a new operational computer platform, complete with high-end camera technology.

The company was searching for a suitable solution to help improve its efficiency and mitigate dangers around its vehicles during operation. It also wanted to record events in high quality for review at a later stage. The aim was to assist drivers during roadside collection, where pedestrians and passing cyclists can be difficult to detect, but also to record routes and provide factual information to their local government clients about service provision.

JJ Richards found sourcing a complete, rugged, high-spec system difficult, and engaged Brisbane-based technology provider Black Moth to create a solution for them.

Black Moth specialises in mobile vision and communication solutions for road transport and heavy machinery. Its flagship products are its integrated atlasMX-720 and atlasMX-900 smart vision platforms.

These systems include Black Moth’s durable smartMX-180 high dynamic range smart cameras, which deliver high-quality streamed imagery for efficient and seamless monitoring of operations. The cameras are installed on each side of a vehicle, including a fifth special purpose camera that can be mounted anywhere else on the vehicle, and work in conjunction with Black Moth’s viewMT-101 display and tigerMX-5 server.

The viewMT-101 displays clear footage in a wide angle to the driver, helping to alert them to any potential safety incidents. The server records footage from all cameras on a continuous loop to an on-board drive.

The beauty of the system is that the cameras provide 360-degree visibility to the driver, including from a top-down perspective. The fish-eye 180-degree lens on the cameras allows the driver to see 90 degrees either side at the rear of the truck, further broadening the operator’s view of the angle and scale of objects outside the vehicle and enabling them to see orthogonally down streets when reversing out of tight alleyways. In addition, the cameras have the potential capability to independently assess the environment around the vehicle and alert the driver or fleet manager if a safety hazard is detected.

While the improvements to the operator’s view were a major benefit for JJ Richards, it was the integrated technology and blossoming partnership with Black Moth that have seen the system come into its own.

JJ Richards’ propriety waste management software runs on board the server on a completely independent, but fully-integrated  computing module within the TigerMX-5, allowing complex reporting and management processes to take place while interacting fully with the data being provided by the Black Moth system.

The server’s built-in cellular capability also allows footage to be immediately retrieved remotely in the case of an incident, and any data can be downloaded automatically when in range of the base Wi-Fi hub, without any interaction from the operator.

Additionally, the Black Moth system gives the fleet operator the ability to update software or wake up a switched-off vehicle system remotely by sending an SMS message. Updated operations can be scheduled remotely and at night, without any interference with day-to-day operations.

Thanks to its ability to record footage, the system has also proved successful in reducing claims following an incident.

Black Moth Chief Executive Officer Scott Gemmell says the Black Moth team also has a direct link to the system, so if something goes wrong they can inform the customer and resolve the situation quickly. “Through our optimised ‘advance support programme’ we can provide advance warning of potential issues, maximising uptime for our clients,” he says.

However, the Black Moth system is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The company continues to customise its system and services with their customers to suit their needs. “There are not many systems out there that undergo continuous integration, data collection, and in-the-field hardening, and this only provides long term benefits for all of our customers,” says Mr. Gemmell.

Black Moth is trialling the system in other industries, including road defect detection, construction sites, large construction equipment, transport and even in OHS safety training.

Mr. Gemmell says the success and social proof of the system on JJ Richards’ fleet is a great segue for Black Moth to engage with other industries where the atlasMX system is relevant. “Our focus is now expanding to other markets where this technology is applicable, including the construction, mining and civil sectors.

“The vision, from our perspective, is to keep plant and people apart, and as a result to help save lives.”

If you’re interested in trialling the atlasMX-720 system, contact Black Moth.

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