Popular driver-facing camera maker rolls out ‘Mask Detection’ feature

A prominent trucking technology provider has rolled out new dash cam features in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

On November 30, Samsara announced the launch of three new dash cam features “designed to train and support drivers remotely” during the pandemic.

Noteworthy among the new features is a “new AI-based Mask Detection feature [that] is purpose-built for today’s environment, with the ability to automatically detect if a driver is not wearing a mask. With optional in-cab alerts for drivers and auto-uploaded footage for safety managers, Mask Detection makes it possible to remotely coach drivers on this new behavior and promote a culture of health and safety.”

Samsara explains how the technology could be deployed:

Because commercial drivers are essential workers, the CDC has provided specific guidance for their safety—which includes wearing a mask in public settings, like when pumping fuel, going into a truck stop or gas station, picking up food, and completing a pickup or delivery. For most truck drivers, their COVID-19 exposure risk is low when they are alone in their cab. But for drivers who work in pairs or transport other people (like ambulance or bus drivers), a mask may be required all the time. 

Given these guidelines, many fleets now require drivers to wear masks while on the job. But without being in the field, it can be difficult for safety managers to promote consistent mask-wearing, ensure driver safety, and avoid possible fines. 

Other new Samsara features include “Live Streaming” that allows managers to perform a virtual ride along to coach drivers and a video share feature that allows safety personnel to directly share video with drivers as a coaching tool.

Driver-facing cameras (even without mask detection technology) are already a controversial issue within the trucking community as many drivers feel that they are an invasion of privacy.