Why AI Accuracy is Crucial for Road Safety

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AI is everywhere – in the news, in your car, in the device you’re reading this on. It also improves the safety, productivity, and profitability of businesses around the world.

Businesses with physical operations, like transportation and logistics, construction, oil and gas, retail, and delivery, have more to gain from AI than potentially any other segment of the world’s economy. With so much of their business happening far from their home offices or worksites, AI provides much-needed visibility. Leaders at these companies manage billions in assets, including vehicles and equipment, while grappling with a workforce that’s increasingly prone to accidents, now at near record highs.

The rise in dangerous behaviors, such as distracted driving and speeding, has led to a grim statistic: Preliminary data from the National Safety Council found that more than 44,000 people died in traffic accidents in 2023 alone. With the astronomical costs associated with each fatal collision, often surpassing $7 million, the urgent need for a different solution has never been clearer.

AI is answering the call. An emerging category of AI called computer vision is giving business leaders a way to see their operations like never before. Computer vision uses advanced algorithms combined with sophisticated cameras to interpret and understand visual information like video or still images. 

Applications of computer vision include the detection of unsafe driving behaviors or road conditions, where systems like AI-powered dash cams identify and track objects on the road or alert drivers to a risky action they are taking. It can even be incorporated into surveillance systems that monitor and detect anomalies at job sites or in public spaces and medical imaging analysis to assist in diagnosing diseases.

For road safety applications, computer vision can detect dangerous driving behaviors like cell phone use, hard braking, or close following, and alert drivers and managers in real time. Warnings like these allow drivers to immediately correct their actions before they lead to a crash and let managers know that follow-up coaching may be needed. 

Still, applying AI isn’t a cure-all. Accuracy is often the missing ingredient and a critical one, especially with AI computer vision. If AI isn’t accurate, you could end up exacerbating safety risks and doing more harm than good. And when it comes to businesses that power the physical economy, that potential harm can impact people’s lives and livelihoods.

The unrealized potential of AI 

Motive’s Physical Economy Outlook report, which surveyed 1,000 physical operations leaders across 11 industries, found that 69% of respondents recognize the potential of Al to positively impact their roles. They view it as a game changer for their companies. When asked where they thought AI would bring the most value to their organization, respondents cited everything from automation gains and better decision-making to enhanced safety for workers.

Focusing on safety, business leaders are frequently turning to AI-enabled cameras like dash cams to improve road safety and prevent accidents. Seventy-three percent of survey respondents agree that roads are safer with AI-enabled cameras/dash cams, and 64% say AI is crucial for preventing accidents, coaching drivers, and saving lives.

Dash cams powered by accurate AI detect unsafe driving behaviors like texting or rolling through stop signs. Not only that, AI dash cams provide real-time alerts to drivers and managers, allowing them to correct behaviors before they lead to a costly, and potentially deadly, crash. But it all comes down to accuracy. What if the AI you’re using is alerting to events that never happened? Or worse, missing things altogether? You’d be missing things too — crucial opportunities to prevent accidents and save lives.

Not all AI is equal: Why accuracy matters

Accurate AI gives you a clear, reliable view of your business. For fleet safety, it provides visibility into what’s happening on the road so small issues like a driver forgetting to buckle up or hard accelerating impacting fuel economy can be addressed before they grow into big problems like breakdowns or catastrophic crashes. Accurate AI detection can mean the difference between preventing an accident and picking up the pieces after it happens. 

Until recently, it’s been difficult for businesses to evaluate the accuracy of an AI provider before deploying the solution across their business. Fortunately, research institutions are beginning to conduct benchmarking studies to help companies choose providers that can back up their claims. For example, studies by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and Strategy Analytics show that the Motive AI Dashcam successfully alerts drivers and managers to unsafe driving behavior 3-4x more than competitors. 

Still, more needs to be done. Businesses must take an accuracy-first approach when vetting AI vendors. Otherwise, more lives will be lost and costs will continue to skyrocket. 

Leading companies and organizations are taking road safety seriously. GM, Honeywell, Vision Zero Network, and the National Safety Council have started working toward the goal of Zero Harm. Motive, a technology company that builds AI-powered solutions for commercial fleets, is following suit, committing to Zero Harm and Zero Preventable Accidents on North American roadways. “Road safety is personal for me. It’s personal for each one of our customers and our employees. And it should be personal for everyone who shares our roads,” said Shoaib Makani, co-founder and CEO of Motive.

The road to a safer future

In a world where every second on the road counts and every decision can make a difference, prioritizing AI accuracy is not just a business decision; it’s a commitment to the well-being of your drivers and the public. If you’re a leader dedicated to pioneering safer roads and more secure fleets, the time to act is now. Challenge the status quo by putting your potential AI solutions to the test. Conduct head-to-head trials, dive into the data, and demand evidence of benchmarking excellence. Don’t settle for promises – insist on proof. Your due diligence today could save lives on the roads tomorrow. 

Explore how the Motive AI Platform leads the way in accuracy and reliability, setting new standards in driver safety and accident prevention.

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Author: Ryan Plutnicki

Ryan is the Chief Customer Officer and has direct responsibility over the customer success, support, onboarding, and professional services teams at Motive. Prior to joining the company, he served as Chief Customer Officer at Emburse, an expense management and AP automation solution provider. He has 20 years of experience at SAP building and leading high-performing teams to profitable growth. He also boasts expertise in company card spend control, and is proficient with scaling operational excellence across global service centers. Ryan has served customers of all sizes, from SMB to enterprise.

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