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1/15/2016 4:09:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Trucking Tries on Wearable Technology

This “hearable” technology, known as the Maven Co-Pilot, generates an alert when it detects that the driver is nodding off.

The company said its system uses algorithms to detect the difference between normal mirror checking and instances of microsleep, or “head-bobs.”

“What the technology allows us to do is monitor the driver by sensing fatigue and distraction in real time and alerting the driver in real time,” Maven CEO Avishai Geller said. “The data is also available on our data platform and available to dispatchers and safety managers as well.”

That data management is a key feature for PGT Trucking, a flatbed and specialized fleet that is testing the Maven headsets.

“The headset will alert the driver, but we will also be alerted,” PGT President Gregg Troian said. “A record of these movements is being recorded so we can look at habits over a period of time.”

PGT, based in Monaca, Pennsylvania, operates a fleet of more than 1,000 trucks.

Wearable technology also is expanding to articles of clothing.

Australia-based SmartCap offers fatigue-monitoring headwear that resembles a baseball cap.

SmartCap said its product uses electroencephalography, or EEG, to monitor the wearer’s brainwaves and detect fatigue-related problems, particularly incidents of microsleep.

When the driver shows signs of nodding off, the product generates an audible and visual alarm from an in-cab display and also can relay the information to dispatch, said Daniel Bongers, the company’s chief technology officer.

In the coming months, the company plans to add the option of using an Apple or Android smartphone for the product display, he added.

Meanwhile, Montreal-based OMSignal has developed a line of “biometric smartwear” that looks like a shirt but is equipped with sensors that monitor extensive information about the driver’s physiology to support fitness goals and health monitoring.

The smartshirt features a small, Bluetooth-enabled box that communicates with a smartphone app, company spokesman Dave Mackey said.

It collects information on the wearer’s heart rate, breathing rate and the expansion and contraction of the chest. The box also features an accelerometer that tracks body positioning.

“We believe these indicators, when they’re combined, have the potential to foretell problems,” Mackey said. 

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By Dan Calabrese
Contributing Writer

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