Proof of Pick-up: Video telematics don’t miss a thing

FONTANA, Calif. – Whether you’re a residential solid waste collector or you service businesses needing private pickup, you know it’s a call you’re going to get: the complaint that the trash was missed.

More than just a minor annoyance, dealing with the problem can be a hit to the bottom line with extra runs, lost productivity, or even discounts to make customers happy. And then there’s always that lingering question – was the pickup really missed, or did the customer miss putting the trash out?

Lytx, a maker of video and telematics systems for commercial vehicles has found an unexpected use for its products – and its solving the missed pickup question for good.

Focused on safety, the Lytx system comes with the option for both driver-facing and road-facing cameras and was designed to provide driver coaching opportunities after an on-road incident or near-miss, but Kristin Costas, director product management at Lytx says those in waste management have found another use for the road-facing cameras.

While the in-cab driver-facing camera must be triggered by an event like a hard brake or collision before it starts recording in order to protect driver privacy, the forward-facing camera records continuously. Add that to the GPS in the system and fleet managers have the ability to see where their trucks are at any given time and what’s going on around them.

When a call about a missed pickup comes in, managers are able to pull up video from specific trucks, in specific locations or for specific windows of time, meaning there are just minutes of video to scan to see if a pickup was made, not hours.

If managers don’t want to wade through the videos themselves, they can put in a request and have a human review done at a Lytx center with results returned in less than 24 hours.

Those videos are stored on the Lytx portal for 90 days, after which they’re archived and available upon request.

Cameras are mounted on the inside of the front windshield and operate using a wide-angle lens, perfect for seeing not only the road ahead but the curb at the side of the street as well. Additional cameras are available for the back and side of the truck should fleets want a more comprehensive view. Whether a truck misses a house, or the house missed doesn’t have bins out, the camera will catch it.

Costas says the unintended use for the camera system has been a big hit with the solid waste management industry – with the sector becoming one of the biggest users of the technology – and the non-safety uses for the system being further developed by the company.

Costas says the future of the Lytx machine vision – alerts triggered by something that machine sees through the camera – will include an option to alert fleet managers if commercial waste bins are overflowing when they’re picked up.

“Waste companies, that’s a revenue generator for them. So being able to use machine vision to see when you’re picking up a bin, is it overflowing and then being able to alert the company about that so they can go out and do whatever invoicing they need to do with that customer,” she said at a recent ride-and-drive event.

While Lytx isn’t the only company in the video telematics space, teaming up with Mack Trucks has made adopting the technology even easier for fleets.

Three models of Mack Truck are now available to order with the Lytx video system pre-wired into the new trucks, making the video systems “plug-and-play” for users and saving time and money on installation.

The Mack Granite straight truck is the latest model to have the pre-wire option following the service being announced for the Mack LR and the Mack Terra Pro cab-over models.

Curtis Dorwart, refuse product manager for Mack says adding the wiring right in the factory not only saves the time and money involved in an after-market installation, but it covers the product for two years under the truck’s electrical warranty.

Lytx says those in the delivery space could see a use for the system the same way, with forward- and rear-facing cameras able to provide proof of delivery for customers who may need it.

“More and more any fleet, regardless of what they’re hauling, are seeing the benefits of forward and driver facing cameras,” said Costas.

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