The New York Times this morning has a story about improving wearable technology is being designed to help commercial truckers avoid giving into fatigue, which "comes with the job of driving an eighteen-wheeler, even with rules requiring rest stops and limiting driving hours. Now, new technologies are becoming available to alert drowsy drivers, sometimes even before they feel tired … Biometric sensors are getting lighter, cheaper and more accurate, and new software systems can connect driver and vehicle data. The feedback loops these systems create could make the roads safer for everyone."
"New wearable technology monitors the drivers but in a more subtle way, and comes in a variety of forms including caps, vests, wristbands and eye wear.
"Glasses made by Optalert measure the driver’s eye blinking with an LED light monitor. Eyelids that stay down too long might point to a sleepy driver. The real-time measurements are displayed on a dash-mounted device with alarms and notifications.
"A headset made by Maven Machines detects if a driver is looking forward through the windshield, up, down or sideways, and measures mirror checks, which can decrease in frequency if a driver is getting tired. The headset detects head bobs and jerks, signs the driver is falling asleep. This system also notices and can deliver notifications on 'coachable' behaviors that can be improved, like hard braking, and delivers audible routing, weather and other messages as well."
In addition, "The SmartCap device is a headband that fits into trucker caps, beanies or other head gear. The band measures electronic brain waves and translates them to a measure of alertness or fatigue. It notifies the driver and a central monitoring system if the wearer appears drowsy."
- KC's View:
As someone who does a lot of long-distance driving, I'd suggest that this technology ought to be available for everyone … and maybe even standard equipment on every motorized vehicle. (Except the autonomous ones, of course. Computers don't get sleepy.)