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New automotive technology prevents accidents caused by drowsiness during driving

Aisin Seki Co., Ltd, Japan, has developed an eyelid monitor and identified symptoms in eyelid behaviour that indicate drowsiness in motorists. The new automated technology (Intelligent Transport System (ITS)) eliminates the fallibility of human judgement in gauging when drowsiness is becoming a driving hazard.

Intelligent Transport System (ITS): New automotive technology from Aisin Seki Co. Ltd, Japan, prevents accidents caused by drowsiness during driving

The location of the vehicle occupants and the experimental instruments

Copyright : Aisin Seki Co. Ltd

Intelligent Transport System (ITS): Test drives demonstrate the reliability of Aisin¡¯s eyelid monitor to pre-empt lapses in motorist competence.

Aisin Seki Co., Ltd, Japan, has developed an eyelid monitor and identified symptoms in eyelid behaviour that indicate drowsiness in motorists. The new automated technology (Intelligent Transport System (ITS)) eliminates the fallibility of human judgement in gauging when drowsiness is becoming a driving hazard.

While a number of physiological factors can indicate drowsiness monitoring eyelid movements is generally less restrictive for the driver. Aisin¡¯s eyelid monitor tracks a range of variables such as blink speed and frequency and average eyelid position. Trials of the new technology on motorists driving along a test track confirmed the reliability of using these measured parameters to rate the drowsiness level of the driver.
The company have also used their monitoring systems to identify other behavioural symptoms that indicate lapses in driving competency. Eye movement speed and fluctuations in the vergence angle ¡ª which indicates where the line of sight of right and left eye converge ¡ª are both linked with incidents of people deviating off lane and slow driver reaction times in driving simulations.

Drowsiness is a serious driving hazard worldwide and ranks as the number one cause of fatal car accidents in Japan. Aisin¡¯s ¡®quality first¡¯ corporate principles include a commitment to social contributions. The drowsiness monitoring systems will soon be available in Toyota¡¯s cars, providing significant improvements to road safety.


Drowsiness during driving is a worldwide hazard, motivating a number of campaigns worldwide to encourage driver to take regular breaks and plan journeys responsibly. In Japan drowsiness is the number one cause of fatal accidents on the road. Automating identification of the onset of drowsiness can help to eliminate the tragic human errors of misjudging when it is no longer safe to drive.


Physiological factors that may indicate drowsiness include eyelid movement, pupil fluctuation, heart rate, and skin potential activity. Monitoring eyelid movements is a promising approach to detecting drowsiness before it becomes a hazard because it is less restrictive for the driver. Reliable use of eyelid movement symptoms to identify drowsiness required investigative analysis of eyelid behaviour recorded with special monitoring equipment to clarify the relationship.

Results from driving simulators include effects that are not always present in real world circumstances, such as sickness and a greater tendency towards drowsiness due to the lower levels of stress in a simulator. For these reasons Aisin Seki uses real test runs for motor equipment evaluations.

1. Eyelid movement

Nine test drivers took part in the evaluation, each accompanied by an observer and an operator. They drove at a constant speed of 60 km/h for 80 minutes or until the observer judged that they were no longer fit to drive.

The monitoring equipment retrieves eyelid movement data from video frame images of the driver¡¯s face recorded at 30 frames per second while driving. Eight quantities were recorded: average blinking intervals, average eyelid closure duration, maximum eyelid closure duration, blink frequency, average eyelid closure velocity, average eyelid opening velocity, average eyelid position, and integrated eyelid closure duration. These values were then used to identify five levels of drowsiness: 1, not drowsy; 2, a little drowsy; 3, drowsy; 4, considerably drowsy; and 5, very drowsy.

Significant difference statistical analysis confirmed the reliability of the drowsiness monitoring system. A significant difference of 0.1% was found for the recorded quantities.

2. Eye movement

Aisin Seki has also identified the link between eye movement and lapses in motorist concentration during driving simulations. They used their specialised eye monitoring equipment to record the movements of left and right eye during driving. Slow fluctuation of the eyes and rapid fluctuation of the vergence angle, which measures the focal point of the line of sight of right and left eye, were both found to precede incidents when the car deviated from its lane or the driver¡¯s reaction times were increased.

The results

Aisin Seki has identified symptoms in eye behaviour that can reliably indicate driver drowsiness before an accident occurs. Due to the standard deviation overlap between the values recorded for eyelid movement quantities at adjacent drowsiness levels, more than one quantity may need to be monitored for reliable results. The company is developing an algorithm with a secured estimate accuracy that combines multiple measured eyelid movement quantities. The drowsiness monitor should prove a valuable asset in the prevention of fatal motoring accidents.

About Aisin Seki Co. Ltd

Aisin Seki produces and sells automobile parts as well as living, energy and welfare related products. The company is committed to its corporate principles that focus on putting ¡®quality first¡¯. Aisin Seki has 2 offices and 11 plants across Japan with over 90,000 employees and subsidiaries that include 69 companies in Japan and 101 overseas. As of 31 March 2012, the company¡¯s capital was 45 billion JPY. For more information, visit

About Aisin Seki Co. Ltd reliability evaluation

In 1970, Aisin Seiki became one of the first automotive parts makers in the world to construct its own integrated testing track and proving ground facility. The company uses the latest facilities and equipment to reproduce a range of road conditions from around the world. In line with its corporate principle of putting ¡®quality first¡¯, the company conducts countless evaluation tests of automotive parts to ensure quality and comfort as well as responding to the increasing need for product reliability. For more information, visit
Aisin Seki Co. Ltd
Public Relations
2-1, Asahi-machi, Kariya, Aichi, 448-8650 JAPAN
Associated links
Journal information
Technical references
[1] Y. Kamakura, M. Ohsuga, Y. Inoue, Y. Noguchi, ¡°Classification of Blink Waveforms
Towards the Assessment of Driver's Arousal Level. ", Transactions of Society of
Automotive Engineers of Japan, 38(4), 173-178, 20070725 (in Japanese).
[2] J. Nishiyama, K. Tanida, M. Kusumi, Y. Hirata, ¡°Evaluation of the Drowsiness by Pupil
Fluctuation. ", Transactions of the Japanese Society for Medical and Biological
Engineering : BME, 46(2), 212-217, 20080410 (in Japanese).
[3] Y. Nakano, A. Miyakawa, S. Sano, H. Katoh, ¡°Driver Sleepiness Level Detection Based on The Heart Rate. ¡±, 15th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems, November 2008, Paper number 10157.

[4] C. Nishimura, A. Kosaka, K. Tsunemitsu, S. Yoshizawa, J. Nagumo, ¡°Evaluation of the arousal level in motorcar driving using skin potential level I£º Changes in skin potential level under various driving conditions. ¡±, The Japanese journal of ergonomics, 23(2), 103 ¨C 110, 1987/04.

[5] J. Adachi, T. Hayashi, K. Ogawa, T. Suzuki, H. Ishiguro, T. Nishina, K. Ohue, S. Uozumi,

S. Kojima, S. Nakanishi, ¡°Development of a Sensor Detecting Eyelid Positions. ¡±, 15th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems, November 2008, Paper number 10102.

[6] H. Kitajima, N. Numata, K. Yamamoto, Y. Goi, ¡°Prediction of Automobile Driver Sleepiness : 1stReport, Rating of Sleepiness Based on Facial Expression and Examination of Effective Predictor Indexes of Sleepiness. ", Transactions of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers. C, Vo1.63, No.613 (19970925) pp. 3059-3066 (in Japanese).

Adarsh Sandhu | Research asia research news
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