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Viasat and Fiap: satellite technology at the service of heavy transport security 

The tragic explosion on the 6th of August last on the A14, of an articulated lorry that was transporting LPG is only the most recent of a long series of incidents which, in a third of the cases, were provoked by drivers subject to distraction or nodding off. After a fruitful meeting with FIAP (Federazione italiana degli autotrasportatori Professionali [Italian Federation of Professional Autotransporters]) on these matters, Viasat decided to launch a solution onto the market that can increase the security of heavy vehicles in circulation on the roadways of Italy. Thanks to Viasat’s satellite telematic devices, the fleet manager of a haulage company can verify in real time, by connecting to the vehicle's tachograph, if the driver is adhering to the driving and rest times, as is set out in the regulations. Furthermore, the monitoring of driving and rest times and the management of automatic alarms can also be entrusted to the Viasat 24H Operations Centre that, in case of violation of the driving and rest times by the drivers, or of their having a driving style that is potentially dangerous, they can intervene swiftly to prevent situations that would put the security of our roads at risk.

“Our satellite systems”, adds Valerio Gridelli, CEO of Viasat, “via the Can-Bus connection of the vehicle and the triaxial accelerometer, can detect abnormal driving behaviour. In this way the fleet manager or our Operations Centre can communicate with the driver to verify the situation and prevent a potential sudden onset of sleep”.

“Every time that a tragic incident on the road involving heavy transport vehicles is registered, the old debate on technologies for active and passive safety reopens” comments Domenico Petrone, President of the Viasat Group. “The newer vehicles have advanced safety systems, the problem is the old vehicles, since the average age of a fleet is 11.3 years for vehicles with a capacity of or greater than 16t. The Viasat technology that we speak of is already available on the market and can be installed on board any vehicle, regardless of its age”.

Everyone is in agreement with the fact that technology can effectively help to prevent the risk of serious accidents or, in any case, limit the consequences, but simply knowing this is not enough. “Every technological aid that can contribute to better safety on the roads, especially of vehicles occupied with professional transport services, preventing dangerous situations at any level, garners our complete attention” adds Massimo Bagnoli, President of FIAP. “It is this continuous preventative research and ongoing improvement, through the professionalism of the companies and their staff members, and the quality of the technical solutions singled out and installed in the vehicles, that expresses the Viasat and FIAP initiative”.

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