In April, experts in tech, business, health and wellbeing gathered at the Canberra National Convention Centre to tinker, test and develop new and innovative solutions for tackling fatigue. Under the guidance of our industry experts and solution specialists, FatigueHACK was three days of innovation, collaboration and, most importantly, awareness of one of the biggest issues surrounding the heavy vehicle industry.
While only one team walked away with the prize of $6000 and the chance to further develop their solution with the CBR Innovation Network, all teams presented amazing ideas and we are indebted to all the hard work and dedication of everyone involved.
Here are our key takeaways from the event, plus a look at the winner and other top solutions.
Collaboration is key
It wasn’t just tech heads in attendance over the three days. Assisting the hackers, were our industry experts, truck drivers and managers from all over Australia, from fleets of all shapes, sizes and travel distances, who know firsthand the dangerous impacts of fatigue.
Each team brought their own unique insights to their solutions, as well as paying close attention to the concerns of their mentors. “The success of the event had everything to do with everyone being in the same room,” says Ben Maguire, Chief Executive Officer for the Australian Trucking Association. “From drivers to industry experts in technology and transport, we wanted to make sure the attendees had enough access to the people most affected by fatigue.”
With truckies bringing the industry knowledge and the hackers bringing their expertise in technology, teams were fully equipped to think outside the box and come up unique solutions that both fulfilled the brief and brought about a deeper conversation on road safety.
Technology is just one piece of the puzzle
“One of the interesting things to come out of the event was there were groups of people who were not from the industry and they came to the conclusion very quickly that managing fatigue was not just about counting time,” says Andrew Rossington, Vice President – Transport Solutions at Teletrac Navman, who was a judge at the event.
Everyone agreed that FatigueHACK’s biggest impact was there was more to driver fatigue than simply building a fancy gadget or app. Not only do drivers need better tools to manage their work hours but everyone, in and outside the industry, needs to have a deeper understanding of how heavy vehicle drivers operate and what factors contribute to fatigue. Every driver on the road is different, so adopting a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t cut it.
Technology can help drivers to better manage their fatigue but when combined with other factors, such as social awareness and education, we can get to the root of the problem that is driver fatigue.
Diversity of Ideas
There’s no one magic way to fix fatigue. In fact, one of the key takeaways everyone agreed on from the event was that it’s going to take many ideas and people to finetune the next big breakthrough. All the teams did a great job of implementing their own interpretation of fatigue and how best to manage and reduce its effects on the road but ultimately FatigueHACK had one winning team and two runners up.
The top three solutions to come out of FatigueHACK were:
- First Prize: Augmented Reality’s Heart Monitor steering wheel
Through electrocardiogram (ECG) devices implanted into a vehicle’s steering wheel, Augmented Reality developed a way to monitor a driver’s heart rate and predict onset fatigue. From there the driver can be alerted ahead of time so they can pull over at the nearest rest stop. By tracking vitals through the steering wheel, drivers can have their fatigue managed as they work, as opposed to relying on wearables or other external devices. The team also stated this could have other applications outside of fatigue, such as detect early heart conditions in drivers.
- Second Prize: Rest Stop AirBnB
Inspired by the existing business model of AirBnB, the team proposed a mobile application where owners of large, unused land, such as farming and industrial areas, could rent out spaces to drivers as rest stops. Drivers then can look up nearby rest areas and pay a small fee to park their vehicle and take rest breaks, without having to locate an official rest area. This solution not only increases the number of rest stops available to truck drivers but also helps to raise awareness about the necessity of having those spaces.
- Third Prize: Truck Driver Awareness Campaign
Rather than develop a tech-based solution, this team’s entry relied on using their learnings from the event. From the insights provided by their mentors, they developed a social and welfare campaign to educate commercial drivers. It highlights the importance of truck drivers on the road and provides tools for how to share the road with heavy vehicles as well as demonstrate the mental and physical impacts of fatigue in the industry.
With the same brief and access to mentors plus real-life accounts from truck drivers, all attendees pulled out completely different ideas on how to combat fatigue. Though Augmented Reality was crowned the winner, the thought put into these entries established a greater need to merge these ideas and leverage all aspects of technology, social and wellbeing to develop a long-term and effective solution.
“What it really proves is there’s a lot of good ideas and a lot of different ways to fight and manage fatigue and we should be thinking about taking the best ideas onboard,” Says Rossington.
We’re incredibly proud of the results that came from the first hackathon. The ideas put forward far exceeded our expectations in the best way possible, and further demonstrates the potential of technology to improve safety and generate conversation is limitless.
Photos Courtesy of Canberra Innovation Network