Moving Beyond Employee Surveillance in Transportation
Technology (and a tight hiring market) are eliminating surveillance in commercial trucking.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and privacy don't always work hand in hand. But when it comes to one sector, commercial driving, AI vision seems to be drastically reducing one of the most astounding examples of employee surveillance today.
Literally, someone is always watching: That's the state of affairs in the commercial driving sector, where many advanced camera-based safety systems like video telematics and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) live stream 24-hour views into the vehicle. The predictable result is that professional drivers often have an unwelcome sense that someone is always watching. Is it any wonder the sector is facing massive worker shortages?
"From a privacy perspective, recording everything a driver does and allowing drop-ins can leave drivers feeling spied-on at work," said Yoav Banin, chief product officer at Nauto, which is using assistance technology to reduce monitoring and put the power in the hands of the employee. "Drivers may then resist using the technology, not get the full safety benefits from it, or even look for a job elsewhere."
As with most employer-led surveillance, the intentions are mostly good. In 2020, 3,142 people were killed in the US in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers. That translates into more than 60 Americans dying every week. The pandemic is associated with a significant increase in roadway fatalities and unsafe driving behavior. By monitoring drivers (or making them aware that they can be monitored at any time), fleet operators are hoping to cut down those numbers.
But the solution is stomach-churning, and this is a story that goes way beyond tracking. Employer surveillance is a hot button issue, whether in the office, remote work, or on the road and often, it's enabled by technology. But can technologies also help overcome the need for invasive employer practices?