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  • Writer's pictureJon B.

Making roads safer with AI

KeepTruckin’s new AI Dashcam corrects dangerous driving behavior with

UX audio alerts

Behavior detection and warning

The automotive industry is relying more on AI detection and audio alerts to warn drivers of dangerous behavior. New passenger vehicles come standard with lane departure, close following and blind spot alerts—and there is a massive opportunity for commercial vehicles to follow suit. As notifications increase so does the opportunity for sounds to be designed to the specific notification and automotive brand.

KeepTruckin (an industry leader in fleet management) released its new AI Dashcam that creates a higher standard for professional driver safety. The AI Dashcam, powered by the leading edge AI processor and advanced computer vision algorithms, detects unsafe driving behaviors with unrivaled accuracy. The device provides in-cab visual and audible warnings to the driver to help proactively prevent accidents.

The notifications range from real-time events such as distracted driving and speeding to after the fact notifications, such as hard braking and fast acceleration. Time interval notifications range from driver Hours of Service (HOS) violations to oil changes.

The alerts go beyond the standard beeps and single tones common in automobiles. KeepTruckin partnered with Sonic Signatures, an audio branding and UX sound developer, to create sounds tailored to the notification type and desired response using the psychology of sound perception.

Tailored UX Sounds

Sonic Signatures worked with KeepTruckin to break notifications into five alert categories. The category sounds use the psychology of human perception such as frequency and melodic shape to indicate the type of notification and the immediacy of response. A voice over then follows the alert, providing information specific to the event.

Actionable Item: Distracted Driving

High alert actionable events including driver distraction, speeding, and close following used lower complexity repeated individual tones. Single tones are processed more quickly by the brain and indicate a higher immediacy.

Informative Event: Hard Braking

Lower immediacy, informative events used multiple tones and melodic shapes. These notifications are less urgent and specify more complex information.

Informative Event: System Boot

Time Interval: Hours of Service

Time based intervals including compliance and maintenance issues emulated the back and forth motion of a clock.

“Sonic Signatures did an excellent job in designing the in-cab audio experience for the KeepTruckin AI Dashcam. The in-depth planning and seamless execution of the notification system was vital in ensuring the real time audible alerts for critical driving events, such as close following, speeding and cell phone distraction, enhances driver safety rather than degrading it. Unlike any other on the market, we were able to create a balanced sound design that positively impacts a driver’s performance, which ultimately leads to making our roads safer for everyone.” — Prateek Bansal, Director of Product Management

Automobile Considerations

The UX sound alerts needed to sound appropriate for the automobile industry and not sound like a social or mobile phone app. While sounding at home in a vehicle, the sounds also couldn’t be confused with sounds coming from the vehicle itself.

Sonic Signatures combined single waveform tones (common in automobiles) with chime like instruments to create a distinctive tonality. Two to four note melodic statements were used to distinguish from the single tones of a vehicle. Notifications beyond four notes were found to be too distracting and less like a vehicle.

The sounds also had to be heard easily in a loud truck environment exceeding 80 dBs. Sounds were created in a test environment simulating truck noise. The midrange frequency of the sound alerts were designed to be heard where human hearing is most sensitive and above the rumble of road noise. This enabled the alerts to be played at a comfortable volume and still be perceived easily.

Creative Audio

With KeepTruckin’s 400k+ vehicle network, mass adoption of the AI Dashcam will create a new standard in driver behavior improving the safety of highways. As more technology leveraging AI is created for commercial and consumer vehicles, UX sound notifications will create not only a big opportunity in safety, but also in creative sound design and branding.

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