Reporting Seatbelt Data: Not as Easy as Buckling Your Seatbelt

Seatbelt Data Reporting

Seatbelt information is very important to many of GoFleet’s customers yet it is not always as easy to retrieve as one may think.

Seatbelt data isn’t mandated by OBD-II specifications
Different vehicle years, makes, and models can all report seatbelt data differently. Geotab goes the extra mile because of this, to acquire seatbelt information. The plug-and-play GO device uses an intricate detection and verification algorithm to tackle these difficulties to be able to cater to as many vehicles as possible. The GO device will report all data it thinks is seatbelt data but only the data that passes the verification process will be used as seatbelt reporting data in My.Geotab.

Obtaining Seatbelt Data
It may seem seatbelt data should be very straightforward to report since there are only two different states, unbuckled or buckled, but it isn’t! Some of the complexities include:

  • Seatbelt data is proprietary, meaning different makes and models report data in different locations through different Parameter IDs (also known as pids, code used to request engine data). Where one car may report seatbelt data another car may report an open door.
  • Sometimes seatbelt data is voluntarily broadcasted, while at other times data needs to be requested from the engine computer; sometimes data is only reported once when the state is changed. The GO device needs to have the ability to process all different circumstances the seatbelt data is presented in.
  • Seatbelt data can be very “bouncy” as it tends to jump around for the first few seconds of start-up before it settles to the correct value. One would not expect 20+ buckled and unbuckled events within the first few seconds of ignition on! The GO device must determine this is the correct seatbelt data once it settles.
  • Some drivers fail to use a seatbelt, while others use it in an abnormal manner, for example taking it off in the middle of a trip. Taking into account abnormal driver behaviour also makes it challenging for the GO device to verify seatbelt data.

Detecting and Verifying Seatbelt Data
The following describes the different stages the GO device goes through in the seatbelt detection process to be an “all in one” solution:

  • Scan through the broadcasted data and try each of the different seatbelt requests.
  • Once the GO device has identified all possible seatbelt data, it then detects if it is in fact seatbelt data, and not other pieces of data such as the driver door being opened.
    • If it is incorrect data, the device will skip it and return to search for other data that could be seatbelt
  • Account for different random seatbelt events such as:
    • Drivers unbuckling their seatbelt after ignition off
    • Drivers unbuckling to deliver a package but leaving the ignition turned on
    • Drivers unbuckling at high speeds to reach something out of their pockets
    • Drivers unbuckling before coming to a full stop
    • Drivers buckling up before ignition is turned on

One can surely speculate how the list can go on and on for different driver behaviors. Geotab’s detection system looks deeper into these events to verify seatbelt data before it starts being reported to you, the customer. The GO device processes when unbuckled and buckled events occur during the trip and use other pieces of engine data before the device decides how likely that this piece of data truly is seatbelt data.

Next Steps
Geotab is constantly adding new seatbelt data for more and more years, makes and models. The detection and verification process is continuously being updated to account for new seatbelt information and the different ways seatbelt can behave in vehicles.

Original Article Written by: Paul Ciolek, Junior Systems Developer at Geotab