Drivers will be alerted to their drift in attention with some sort of noise or vibration.
Different systems for different cars
The phrase ‘driver drowsiness detection’ is the general term for systems that monitor driver attention. Mercedes-Benz calls it ‘Attention Assist’, Land Rover calls its system ‘Driver Condition Monitor’. Volvo’s system, called ‘Driver Alert’, has been shown to be successful, with a 97% success rate at determining a driver’s drowsiness. There are other independent devices that the driver can place in their vehicle themselves, which help to reduce the risks associated with loss of concentration while driving. The ‘Anti-Sleep Pilot’ is a device that continuously calculates a driver’s fatigue levels using 26 different parameters, with the device resting on your dashboard.
Wearable tech has also been released, in the form of caps, vests, wristbands and eyewear. Aimed at truck drivers, they monitor a variety of signals from the driver that can be used to detect if the driver is nodding off. ‘Vigo’ is an up-close-and-personal device, with a headset that rests just beneath the driver’s eyeline to analyze their head movements. Other forms of monitoring a driver’s alertness is through using cameras – although this is less popular due to privacy concerns.
ADAS continues to grow
ADAS tech, like driver drowsiness detection systems, is becoming the standard in cars today. In 2015, US carmakers pledged to have many types of ADAS equipment as standard by 2022, this is a sign of the times, as technology becomes more vital to assisting drivers and increasing road safety. Some believe this technology will also lay the path to full autonomy too, which in an ideal world will make driving even safer still.
When we do have fully autonomous cars, we will be able to put our worries about microsleep and drowsy drivers to one side. However, until then, losing attention at the wheel can be a deadly mistake, and one that driver drowsiness detection works to prevent.