Fleet News

Inadequate forward-facing cameras could cost fleets millions

Fleet news logo

Fleet operators are at risk of severe financial losses by adopting inadequate forward-facing cameras that fail to capture correct data of an accident or driving incident, according to Intelligent Telematics.

As a result, the road transport, fleet and insurance sectors potentially face millions of pounds of costs each year because they will not have the accurate and admissible evidence needed to defend or mitigate insurance claims.

Nick Plowman (pictured), CTO of Intelligent Telematics, said: "There is massive interest in forward-facing camera technology because businesses are recognising the benefits it can deliver in terms of proving what really happened and protecting against avoidable insurance costs.

"Any camera will help to mitigate claims, but as the insurance sector becomes more technically aware it will become critical to ensure that GPS accuracy and G-force measurement provides highly reliable impact speeds and force to prevent any challenges to the validity of data.

"Many cameras currently only capture data at one second intervals meaning that these solutions are often only able to provide impact speeds before or after an accident.

"Consider that a harsh braking vehicle would typically go from 40 miles per hour to standstill in three seconds, there is considerable risk of presenting information that is massively inaccurate."

Companies should consider cameras that capture data at 10 times per second to ensure impact speeds are identified at the exact point when an accident occurs.

It is essential that a camera is mounted perfectly square on both horizontal and vertical planes to have a zero G-force reading when stationary, something that is impossible to achieve through manual installation.

Fleet operators are often advised to mount cameras angled forward to pick up more of any blind spots, so a vehicle will automatically be registering up to 0.45g at standstill (many telematics provides consider this level of g-force as harsh driving incident).

Auto calibration is a necessary requirement of any camera solution that will ensure correct measurement and protect the legitimacy of any data capture.

Plowman said: "Not all camera solutions are fit for purpose and as levels of adoption increases and the technology becomes embedded in the road transport and fleet sectors, poor quality data faces the risk of being dismissed with operators ultimately having to absorb the added costs.

Therefore, it is important that companies carefully consider any camera investment to avoid potentially spiralling insurance."

Click here for telematics best practice and procurement insight

Login to comment


  • Bianca Castafiore - 06/03/2014 13:33

    Mmmmm.... I wonder who could possibly make such devices......?

  • Bianca Castafiore - 06/03/2014 13:33

    Mmmmm.... I wonder who could possibly make such devices......?

  • Mike FD - 06/03/2014 15:16

    I think any type of forward-facing camera is better than no camera at all. What are we trying to do? Are we hoping to educate fleets to adopt cameras in the first place or scare them off with the cost of the top of the range system? The manufacturers of fancy systems need to be a little bit more patient before they try to cash in!

  • Frank D - 06/03/2014 16:25

    Firstly lets look at the claims made in this article: GPS data being pulled 10 times a second is more accurate than GPS data being pulled once a second > If this is true why does Intelligent Telematics own website and demo footage of their camera show a stationary vehicle at the traffic lights doing 1 KMH. See 30 seconds into the video http://www.intelligent-telematics.co.uk/store/products/it-1000-3g-vehicle-camera/ Auto Calibration of G Sensor – This would make no difference in a court of law as it can be proved what the starting G force is when stationary, and compare this to the change. Also the majority of units on the market now have this feature anyway regardless. The truth and reality is that all global positioning systems including GPS and GLONASS, are available in 2 flavours, the military version which is precise to the nearest metre and real time, and the public version that Mr Plowman’s and all other cameras use, which is not in real time and not accurate to the nearest metre. The reason for this is national security, as otherwise people with dubious intentions could use it to pinpoint live targets to the nearest metre! In real world tests GPS and GLONASS at 1HZ, 5HZ and 10HZ are very very similar in performance, and in any case despite what is written above the evidence provided by all is sufficient for the needs of the insurance industry and acceptable in court. It is worth noting the cost difference between GPS and GLONASS receiving technology is around $1.50, and a simple addition/change for any manufacture to make should a client require it. Now lets look at why a company would make such claims: The above is simply a cheap attempt to differentiate their product from the many others in the market. Finally lets look at who is making these unsubstantiated claims: Intelligent Telematics was founded last year and is a newcomer to the market Neither the company’s directors or Mr Plowman have any solid experience in telematics or cameras and certainly no recognised qualifications. It is very worrying that Fleetnews have published such a blatant attempt of self promotion/advertising as an editorial piece.

    • Nick P - 07/03/2014 09:47

      @Frank D - Good morning Frank and thank you for your comments; I'm glad that my views have stimulated discussion and I will reply to your comments one by one for ease. GPS data being pulled 10 times a second is more accurate than GPS data being pulled once a second..the fact is higher frequency sampling of any variable data = higher accuracy. The IT1000 camera was launched in January 2014 and as you will see the video demonstrating the 3G video output is dated 9th November 2013. This first model had a 5Hz GPS module and despite achieving only a 0.6 - 1kph margin of error was replaced. Proof enough. If you send me your email address, I will send you a 3 page paper on civilian v military satellite capabilities and what systems at ground level are used to achieve distances 50 times better than you suggest! Its a good interesting read. High frequency GPS and G-Force data is being used by insurers / collision reconstruction companies that we work with at 400Hz-1KHz+ in some examples - that is what they want and need to defend their clients against not just the all too obvious 'whos fault was it?' question that can be achieved with any camera (and im a big fan of the any camera is better than no camera) but to a whole new level. Auto Calibration of a device that is measuring high frequency forces on 3 axis simultaneously and that is intended to be used at the highest level is an absolute must. Its ridiculous to suggest otherwise. Every telematic black box device in the World auto calibrates - Ask CTrack, MiX, ISOTRAK, Quartix etc, etc. I for one would rather produce an accurate device, fit for purpose that can be trusted rather than say to a PLC client 'In the event of a claim, can you check the varying standstill g-force level on 3 axis please and then deduct that from all 400 readings taken per second?!! As you suggest, the cost difference is not huge for a quality module (although more than the $1.50 you have been quoted) and that is precisely why fleet manager and insurers need to be aware that for a relatively small investment can ensure that correct questions are asked and correct choices are made in order to future proof themselves.

  • Ben - 07/03/2014 09:17

    Frank D, why are you so aggressive? As a neutral coming across this article I think that what Intelligent Telematics are improving the Health and Safety issues in the industry via the creating of a competitive landscape, I for one applaud them.

    • Ben - 07/03/2014 09:26

      @Ben - Sorry, type missing from my previous mail, lost in the upload. In short, as a fleet manager I believe that Intelligent Telematics have a sound product that the market requires. This type of technology will drive the growth of business efficiencies thus creating a competitive landscape that we as fleet managers will only benefit from.

  • DT - 07/03/2014 13:06

    As an insurance and risk management professional in the London and Middle East markets for over twenty years, I applaud the precise and forward thinking technology that Intelligent Telematics is adopting, and bringing to the market place. As a Risk Management Professional, we strive to establish and embrace cutting edge technologies that will ultimately assist us in mitigating and reducing operational costs within our business. I have had first hand experience in this through my collaboration with Intelligent Telematics and my partners in the Middle East.

  • SmartWitness - 07/03/2014 15:11

    We have carried out extensive testing on 1Hz and 10Hz GPS over the last few months, and in a small minority of cases 10Hz has produced better usable results. We too have 10Hz cameras in our product range, cameras that auto calibrate and cameras that provide first notification of loss and transmit video footage. Some clients will require these enhanced features and others will not, in the end it comes down to the application and the budget available. One of the UK’s most popular commercial cameras is the SmartWitness SVC100. This unit is a 1Hz camera and has made significant savings for fleets and on average reduced disputed claims from 40% to 2%, so we would agree with the view that any good quality camera can make a positive difference to a fleet and the outcome of an insurance claim. It should be noted though that hardware alone does not determine the quality or the accuracy of a product, the installation, software and other components used also have a big hand to play. Some of our systems also have the ability to interface with a vehicle and pull the speed information from the vehicle, this provides a speed source that does not rely on GPS at all, or can act as a secondary speed reading if required. If accuracy of speed is paramount we would recommend considering this an option too. For any potential purchaser of this type of technology, before making a decision, a side by side real world comparison of the various products available is a must. We congratulate Intelligent Telematics on highlighting one of the many aspects to consider when choosing a vehicle camera system.

  • Mike FD - 07/03/2014 15:54

    Without wishing to sound too simplistic, does not the last response just summarise my initial comment but in more technical language? If you have the resources and enjoy all that money can buy, you can use a Rolls Royce to go to work or go shopping but for most of us the Ford Fiesta will do the job and it’s better than walking!

  • Frank D - 10/03/2014 16:43

    Hi Nick, Thanks for your feedback regarding the points which have been raised. Now I understand more about the technical specification, it would appear that your product is technically superior and ahead of many of the competition. I also commend you and Intelligent Telematics and wish you every success for the future.

  • Frank D - 10/03/2014 22:29

    I am surprised that a reputable website has published such unsubstantiated claims by Nick Plowman. Firstly, GPS is not approved by the home office for speed detection, so whether it's 1 or 10 times per second. In a court of law it's irrelevant. Secondly, a forward facing camera will give an indication of the G force involved in an incident in the vehicle it's in, also its fixed to a windscreen. Insurers biggest costs/concerns are third party bodily injuries. How does your devices prove what G force happened to the third party? Remember humans are not attached to windscreens! Nick, if you could please post any links on here to prove your claims and show it's not just sales propaganda. If not the fleet industry should take your claims with a pinch of salt.

    • christopher.smith - 10/03/2014 22:33

      @Frank D - if you are commenting, can you please ensure you use a different username to other commenters to avoid confusion, or if you are the same commenter, use the same email address. The two most recent comments appear to be from different posters, so we may have to start locking comments on this thread. Many thanks, Christopher Smith Fleet News Web Producer

  • Bianca Castafiore - 11/03/2014 09:28

    I agree with the last comment from Frank D (the real one!). The initial article was so obviously a free advert which, in the right place, is perhaps ok. However, for Fleet News to publish this as if it is the new-found miracle is wrong, and at the very least it should be clearly marked as an 'ADVERTISEMENT' as it would be in a newspaper. I guess with this comment I've blown my chances of the £20 John Lewis voucher, but what price the truth....

    • bristol_bri - 11/03/2014 10:08

      @Bianca Castafiore - Hi Bianca, thanks for your comment. This is the beauty of the comments section – it allows people with conflicting views to air their opinions. The story above is one company’s view of the future for forward-facing cameras, which is becoming a much-discussed topic in fleet, although there’s no suggestion that it’s a “new-found miracle”. It’s not a free advert, but the source was a press release; we trust our readers to make up their own opinions about what has been said and respond accordingly. Interestingly, this story – in addition to the 14 comments expressing a variety of for/against views – has 17 likes, which suggests that a number of people have found it useful. And it's sparked a bit of debate - more so than our now defunct forum, which I know you actively participated in. We use the news section of the website for reporting purposes – these stories come from a mix of press releases and interviews we have carried out, plus some articles from the print publication – while the Fleet News magazine is where we assess and analyse the key stories in more detail to provide additional insight. We do plan to look at the whole issue of camera technology in a future issue of Fleet News. Regards Stephen Briers Editor, Fleet News

    • DT - 11/03/2014 10:27

      @Bianca Castafiore - I am quite surprised by the vitriolic comments made in relation to what should considered a very objective and relevant article in a reputable website. The whole point of free speech, and this certainly translates into business, is about being able to be objective without comments that are clearly designed to sully the reputation of those who believe in being intuitive, pro-active, forward thinking, and brining the best technology to the market, as opposed to standing still and allowing their clients to believe that 'the norm' is sufficient. As a Risk Manageer I have first hand experience of how the technology in question has ultimately reduced operational cost within my business. If I were ever to be approached by a provider of risk management tools that didn't look to push the boundaries of 'the norm' then I would certainly question my integrity as a Risk Manager. May I ask exactly what industry Bianca and FrankD are in....sellers of similar products or end users?

  • Mike FD - 11/03/2014 09:44

    Is the second Frank D connected to Nick? Either way, I think he's certainly blown his chances for the voucher!

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee