Researchers at Washington State University Spokane have developed a new way to detect when drivers are about to nod off behind the wheel.
Their recently patented technology is based on steering wheel movements—which are more variable in drowsy drivers—and offers an affordable and more reliable alternative to currently available video-based driver drowsiness detection systems.
“Video-based systems that use cameras to detect when a car is drifting out of its lane are cumbersome and expensive,” said Hans Van Dongen, research professor at the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center. “They don’t work well on snow-covered or curvy roads, in darkness or when lane markers are faded or missing.
“Our invention provides an inexpensive and user-friendly technology that overcomes these limitations and can help catch fatigue earlier, well before accidents are likely to happen,” said Van Dongen, who developed the technology with postdoctoral research fellow Pia Forsman.
The science behind the invention was published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention. Researchers analyzed data from two laboratory experiments conducted at WSU Spokane.
Twenty-nine participants were on a simulated 10-day night shift schedule that caused moderate levels of fatigue, as assessed by their performance on a widely used alertness test known as the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT). During each night shift, participants spent four 30-minute sessions on a high-fidelity driving simulator, which captured data for 87 different metrics related to speed, acceleration, steering, lane position and other factors.
Data analysis indicated that the two factors that best predicted fatigue were variability in steering wheel movements and variability in lane position.
Researchers then showed that data on steering wheel variability can be used to predict variability in lane position early on, making it possible to detect driver drowsiness before the car drifts out of its lane.
“We wanted to find out whether there may be a better technique for measuring driver drowsiness before fatigue levels are critical and a crash is imminent,” Van Dongen said. “Our invention provides a solid basis for the development of an early detection system for moderate driver drowsiness. It could also be combined with existing systems to extend their functionality in detecting severe driver drowsiness.”
The solution uses inexpensive, easy-to-install parts—including a sensor that measures the position of the steering wheel—and could be included as part of a factory installation or as an aftermarket accessory.
A patent for this method of measuring driver drowsiness has been assigned to WSU under patent number 8676444, with Van Dongen and Forsman as the inventors.
The paper describing their work was published in Vol. 50 of Accident Analysis & Prevention with Forsman—now with the University of Helsinki in Finland—as the lead author. Coauthors include Van Dongen; WSU researchers Bryan Vila and Robert Short; and Christopher Mott of Pulsar Informatics, a private firm that develops behavioral alertness technology.
Hans Van Dongen, WSU Spokane Sleep and Performance Research Center, 509-358-7755, firstname.lastname@example.org
Judith Van Dongen, WSU Spokane/WSU News, 509-358-7524, email@example.com
Hans Van Dongen | Eurek Alert!
New algorithm for optimized stability of planar-rod objects
11.08.2016 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
Automated driving: Steering without limits
05.02.2016 | FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering