Monday, 1 June 2015

Eye in the car that keep drivers awake

A British company is working on a sensor device which can detect if a driver is falling asleep at the wheel.
ARM Holdings of Cambridge, UK is developing technology which can detect if a driver is falling asleep at the steering wheel. It can send a signal to either the steering wheel or the seat, or some other major driver-related component to issue an alert.

The system uses a series of camera (vision systems) installed in the rear-view mirror to monitor drivers’ expressions, their eye alignments and head position. It can also register how often the driver blinks or indeed loses focus while seated behind the wheel.

If the camera detects the driver is on the point of falling asleep, it triggers an alarm; alternatively it can issue a signal to set the steering wheel or driver’s seat into vibration mode.

Additionally, it can change channel on the car radio as well as communicate through satellite navigation using GPS.

The aim of the research work is to prevent motorway and other vehicle crashes by detecting the moments leading up to the point when the driver takes his eyes off the road.

A number of British companies (including Vicon Motion Systems Ltd) are working on advanced vision systems but it is believed this is the first aimed at sensing drivers’ attention.

Some cars already have sensors which can measure the distance between cars, or detect when a vehicle is veering out of lane. However, it is thought this system is the first that can detect drivers’ reactions.

Richard York, ARM Holdings vice president, claims the new technology is needed as distraction or fatigue appear to be the main causes of accidents on roads.

“The evidence is that almost all accidents are caused by drivers not paying attention,” he said. “Electronics can play a big role in looking into the vehicle to keep an eye on the driver.”

Meanwhile, it is understood Vicon Motion Systems Ltd of Didcot, Oxfordshire has Ford Motor Company, Toyota and BMW as customers for products which can handle robot tracking, virtual reality and ergonomic and human factors.

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