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Cameras are part of an HGV driver’s life in several ways already, and it’s safe to say they’re here to stay. They might be used for legal reasons, as an additional witness for any incidents on the road. But on top of the dashboard cameras that are used by many hauliers, you could soon find that cameras bring a whole new dimension to your driving. Tackling driver tiredness with cameras could be the next cutting edge use of cameras in the cab, thanks to one Hong Kong-based academic.

in-cab camera app


Professor Cheung Yiu-ming has created an app which analyses a driver’s face to check for signs of tiredness. When the app detects that the driver is getting tired, it sets off an alarm that the driver needs to manually turn off or turn off with their voice. This type of camera technology is a step away from the dashcam type of surveillance, because instead of another human analysing the footage to make use of it, all analysis is done by the app itself. The artificial intelligence of the app is programmed to recognise drooping eyelids, slumping shoulders and yawning mouths. When it detects any of these danger signs, it intervenes to get the driver to wake up and take action. It then becomes the driver’s responsibility to think of the most appropriate solution, whether that’s pulling over for the night, taking a short nap, or finding some coffee and a splash of cold water to see them through to the next safe stop.


Another key difference between this type of camera and the dashcam is that it’s preventative, whereas dashcam footage is only ever needed once an accident or incident has already happened. In an ideal world, these two types of camera would combine, and create a pre-warning system which prevents accidents by using new technology to analyse driver habits and road activity. It’s not a completely unreasonable prospect that apps might take some of the responsibility away from the driver quite soon, and that this might involve cameras too. Dashboard cameras (or dashcams) are already widely used in the haulage industry, although not universally used. Dashcams are not a legal requirement, insofar as they’re not required to be installed as standard, but many haulage companies choose to install them for legal reasons. It’s actually very rare that the footage from these dashcams is viewed, only in the event of a serious incident is it likely they’ll be seen.

lgv hgv driver


In cases where an accident happens, the footage from the road can be a vital clue which helps to place blame. The footage showing the road from the HGV dashboard shows what really happened, and enables companies to avoid the cost of paying for damage that was actually the fault of a careless car driver and not their HGV driver. But there is another type of camera that can be controversial, and that’s the type of camera which is aimed at the driver, recording their every move as they go about their job. While the footage from this type of camera is likely to be – on the whole – very boring and uneventful indeed, it’s sometimes extremely valuable.

Again, if you follow this blog regularly, you’ll know there’s been a huge crackdown on drivers who are using their phones on the move. When driving an HGV, this is an even more dangerous habit, because the size and weight of the vehicle can cause some very serious damage if the driver isn’t paying proper attention to the road.

Having inward-facing cameras in the cabs means that if there is an accident, haulage companies and the police can view the footage and see whether the driver was distracted by the phone, radio or anything else.

Where inward-facing are used, it might feel like an invasion of privacy, but just knowing that camera is there could also save your life. The vast majority of the footage will never be viewed by anyone, but just having the camera there can help to keep drivers focused on the road and make them extra mindful of distractions like their phone.


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