A driver loosing focus can be a recipe for a fatal accident when one is driving a car.
According to the European Commission, up to 30 per cent of road crashes is caused because of driver distraction – the reasons for which can range from answering a smartphone, lighting a cigarette, music or eating. Fatigue is the cause for about 20 per cent of accidents.
This has prompted the European Union to formulate new laws, applicable from 2002, that are aimed at forcing car makers to mandatorily include inbuilt safety technologies in all new European vehicles which will include “a warning of driver drowsiness and distraction.”
The German engineering and technology company Bosch is set to be a market leader in this market of such new technologies. The company announced in December an interior monitoring system that is able to detect and sound an alarm about drowsy and distracted drivers has been developed by it. Cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) are used for detection of the movement of the eyelids of a driver so that it can detect when they get heavy with sleep or when the drivers are distracted from driving and from looking at the road while trying to use a phone or while turning towards another passenger, according to the new technology that is expected to be installed in new cars from 2022.
A judgment about the level of fatigue of drivers is made by the technology based on the positioning of their eyelids and the rate of eye-blinking, which is fed into an on-board computer which uses artificial intelligence to sound the alarm.
“Based on all this information, it can recognize if you’re getting tired because the frequency of your eyelids opening and closing gets much slower,” Annett Fischer, spokesperson for the Bosch interior monitor system, said in a television interview while describing the new technology.
In addition to sounding an alarm, the system can also direct the driver to break if they are tired, or even reduce the speed of the vehicle itself.
The automaker will decide on the type of the alert which can be a sound, light, slowing down or even a vibrating steering wheel. Fisher said that the technology can be adapted to meet the alarm demand of car makers.
A front and rear camera is also a part of the system, installed to monitor passengers and sure that they wear seatbelts and position their airbags appropriately.
According to the World Health Organization’s 2018 global status report on road safety, more than a million people die globally every year from road traffic accidents. The report estimated that the risks of an accident is increased by four times if a driver uses a telephone while driving — whether hand-held or hands-free. It also noted that the rate of accidents increases by around 23 times if drivers text while driving.
According to Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at the UK road safety charity Brake, particular issue for those who drive professionally is fatigue.
“These drivers are often behind the wheel for long periods of time and can be in charge of heavy vehicles, which can cause huge destruction in the event of a crash. Technology has a huge role to play in achieving a world without death or serious injury on the road and we welcome new advances which improve safety, such as drowsiness detection systems,” he says.
(Adapted from CNN.com)