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3/18/2016 4:09:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Suppliers Offer Systems That Monitor Drivers’ Faces for Alertness

Safety Vision

This story appears in the March 14 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.

Several technology suppliers are offering onboard systems that monitor the driver’s face for signs of distraction or drowsiness.

Seeing Machines, for example, uses driver-facing cameras and algorithms to track the percentage of eyelid closure, pupil dilation and head position.

The company’s camera uses infrared light to work at night and see through sunglasses.

Most customers also install a device that vibrates the driver’s seat. If the driver’s eyes are closed too frequently or directed away from the forward view for too long, an alert is triggered.

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“The first thing you want to do if you think the driver is [falling] asleep is wake him up, so the vibrator motor comes on and shakes the driver’s back,” said David Nagy, senior vice president of product management at the Australia-based technology firm, which has offices in Mountain View, California, and Tucson, Arizona. “We also have a buzzer, so we can play different tones and sounds.”

At the same time, a message is sent to the Seeing Machines monitoring center in Tucson.

“When an event occurs, a packet of data is sent that contains relevant information, such as GPS location and truck ID, along with a snippet of the video of the driver’s face, so that someone there can check and see if it really is a fatigue or distraction event,” Nagy said. If so, an e-mail is sent to the fleet manager, who can then contact the driver.

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By Bruce Lilly
Contributing Writer

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