There are many risk factors that we must try to minimize as much as possible when we are behind the wheel. Fatigue and distractions from a lack of sleep are the basis of many of the accidents that occur on the road. Indeed, fatigue is associated with most truck accidents, which in 90% of cases arise from human error. Is there any way to prevent this?
The proposal that comes from Canada called the Seeing Machines Fatigue Monitoring System is based on the installation of a technological system in the vehicle that monitors the driver’s eye movement and blinking. Currently five European bus companies have installed this device in their vehicles to participate in a nine-month trial, which aims to prevent accidents in long distance travel.
The special cameras that are installed inside the coach to monitor the driver’s glances detect whether the driver is distracted or has fallen asleep for spaces of less than one second. When this happens without the driver being aware of it, a vibration motor integrated into the seat itself is activated. Even a warning signal is sent to the alternate driver sleeping in his cab.
This technology uses an invisible infrared light to detect the driver’s eyes in the dark, tracking the position of the head and opening of the eyes. If the driver turns his head beyond a certain angle while driving at a specific speed, the system will remind the driver to keep his/her eyes on the road.
The CEO of the company that has launched this initiative, Ken Kroeger says that fatigue is seen in blink rate, its speed in opening again and the duration of eye closure. In this way it can be determined if it is micro sleep.
During the winter months, the companies that have been associated with the company promoting this idea will put into circulation vehicles that will tour the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland, while in summer they will continue by travelling throughout the southern countries such as Italy, Spain, and France. The foreseen results are very positive given that the big difference of this monitoring system is that nothing is required from the person driving. Other devices with the same purpose require that the driver wear a special hat or glasses connected with cables to the operator centre. In this case, in the moment that the ignition key is turned, the monitoring system is switched on and starts operating.
The Seeing Machines system is already used in the mining industry and talks for introducing it into the airline sector are already underway. If the results obtained with the test of coaches that will tour Europe for 9 months are successful, the company plans to install the kit in the 60 vehicles that make up its fleet and thus act as a European distributor.
The Seeing Machines system could prevent the risk of accidents in all those professions that require being behind the wheel for hours, a decrease in claims that would save the lives of many people throughout the year.
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