Technology, Innovative Approaches Enhance Road Safety for the Oil and Gas Industry
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The complete paper describes a service company’s approach to the development and application of technology and innovative solutions to improve driving performance on the basis of extensive data analysis. Driving-performance data identified potential scenarios in which outcome-focused solutions can be used to influence driver behavior. Tailored approaches were implemented, ranging from vehicle enhancements to mobile applications.
The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers reports that land-transportation-related incidents historically have been the single largest cause of fatalities in its member company operations. Since 2000, such incidents have accounted for 22% of all work-related fatalities reported by the members.
The service company Schlumberger has a long-standing commitment to road safety, including mandatory driver safety training for all employees and contractors who drive on company business. The company has also invested in providing global journey-management centers to support company driving activities.
All automotive accidents involving the company in 2017 (including contractor automotive accidents) were analyzed in detail to determine the nature of these incidents. This information was used to target improvement programs in specific areas (Fig. 1). Automotive accidents involving a head-on collision or rollover were considered to have the highest potential for fatality, so these were specifically targeted for improvement initiatives.
Risk-Based Driving Standard
The company adopted a risk-based approach for its global driving and journey-management standard to address both fundamental and risk-based driving controls. The comprehensive driver-management system consolidates company best practices with the aim of eliminating automotive accidents systematically through training, journey management, safe driving behavior, and compliance with the company code of conduct. Every company driver from field to office is required to take regular fit-for-purpose driver training that includes the use of simulators and driver-improvement monitors to provide real-time, in-vehicle driving performance feedback.
Driver Training. The company operates several global driving-training centers, where practical skills can be practiced in a variety of driving environments. Driver training is provided in light, medium, and heavy categories. The company uses driver-training simulators with multiple vehicle profiles, including light, heavy articulated, and nonarticulated vehicles to enable drivers to practice their basic and advanced skills in a safe environment.
Driver Behavior and Driver Improvement Monitoring. The company first installed driver-improvement monitors into vehicles in 1996 and has relied on this type of technology heavily ever since. However, many improvements have been made in the intervening years in terms of real-time data streaming and user interfaces allowing data to be used better through connected digital platforms to further improve driving performance.
The most-recent addition to the company’s driving-safety toolkit was a driving app that uses sensors in the driver’s mobile device to enable the recognition of vehicle movement. Drivers are provided with a customized dashboard and immediate feedback on driving performance to identify personalized areas of improvement. This app is easy to deploy, promoting driver engagement with immediate in-vehicle feedback to increase personal awareness of driving performance and warn of hazardous behaviors.
Another technology that has been implemented to improve driving performance is an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS). This technology aids drivers by enhancing vehicle safety systems and reducing human error by alerting the driver of maximum speed limits, lane departure, and the proximity of pedestrians and other vehicles to prevent collisions.
Using a single digital platform for data collection and analysis has enhanced the value of data to the company significantly. For example, such data have been used to improve quality of road-hazard assessments and communicate these hazards to the driver.
Driver Engagement and Proactive Approach. Engaging drivers in a digitally enhanced world has involved using mobile technology to raise awareness of their own driving habits, using the sensors embedded in mobile devices to monitor performance and provide feedback in real time to the driver. After the trips, the application enables a customized personal dashboard to display the driver’s performance for each trip. The data generated from these devices also provide the ability to perform advanced data analytics, essentially allowing a mobile device to be used as a software driving improvement monitor (DIM).
This allows anyone to benefit from a DIM merely by using an app on their mobile device, with no hardware installation required in the vehicle. The app serves as a source of input data connected to the digital platform to benefit data analytics for the entire fleet.
Journey Management. The company has developed an innovative journey management app that provides an algorithm for instantaneously calculating the risk of the trip, reinforcing engagement of the driver with the company driving controls. The combination of the journey-management mobile app along with the DIM app provides one more step in the evolution of journey management toward a truly smart solution. These apps both contribute data to, and provide data from, an enabled global connected digital platform that uses a comprehensive geography-based logic architecture. These apps provide data on road conditions, driver hours of service, weather conditions, visibility, light conditions, and nighttime hours for use in the trip risk assessment, without the need for data entry by the driver.
The 2017 data were analyzed to determine whether the range of features provided by ADAS could have prevented any of the collisions. The analysis revealed that implementation of each of the ADAS features could have resulted in the following improvement percentages:
- Forward collision warning, 19%
- Headway monitoring and warning, 6%
- Lane departure warning, 2%
- Pedestrian and cyclist warning, 0.3%
- Speed limit indication, 1%
This gave an overall potential reduction of 29% of all automotive accidents based on a full-scale implementation of the ADAS technology across the entire company and contracted vehicle fleet.
Hit Vehicle in Front. The front collision warning, the headway monitoring speed-limit-indication features of ADAS, increased driver-behavior awareness, and the company’s journey-management process combined to provide prevention potential. These initiatives have shown a reduction in the automotive accident rate involving impacting vehicles in front by 31% when compared with the 2017 rate data.
Rollover, Run Off Road, or Sideswipe. The speed-limit-indication features of ADAS combined with increased driver-behavior awareness through the driver-improvement app and the journey-management process combined to provide prevention potential for automotive accidents involving rollovers.
The technologies applicable for the reduction of impacting vehicles from the front, with the addition of the lane-departure feature of ADAS, also contributed to a reduction in automotive accidents that involved a vehicle running off the road. A 42% reduction in these incidents was observed when comparing 2019 year-to-date data at the time of writing with 2017 data.
Head-On Collisions. Particular emphasis was placed on head-on collision prevention because this type of impact often results in severe or fatal injury. The lane-departure warning, the headway monitoring speed-limit-indication features of ADAS, increased driver-behavior awareness, and the journey-management process combined to provide prevention potential for such collisions. The results of these initiatives have shown a reduction in the accident rate involving these impacts by 60% when compared with 2017 data.
Hit From Behind. Another area of focus was to reduce the 20% of vehicle accidents involving vehicles being hit from behind. The company investigated how this type of impact could be reduced, taking best practices from the construction and utility industry sectors.
The use of such simple, low-technology steps as the fitting of bold fluorescent chevron striping to the rear of light company vehicles was implemented. The aim was to change the behavior of other road users toward the company vehicles in front of them both during the day and night. On the basis of the results of the preliminary trials, the initiative was implemented and has resulted in an overall reduction of almost one out of every three rear-end-collision events.
Collectively, these solutions have resulted in significant improvement to the company’s driving performance. An overall reduction in automotive accidents of 17% has been observed when accident rates were compared from 2017 to the end of September 2019.
Technology, Innovative Approaches Enhance Road Safety for the Oil and Gas Industry
01 August 2020
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