ADASAutonomous VehicleConnected Vehicle

Now connected cars could help save lives on the road!

Wouldn’t you want an alarm to go off if you fall asleep driving?

Research has shown that fatigued and drowsy drivers suffer from increased reaction times. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study concluded that adequate sleep and proper education on the dangers of drowsy driving are the best solutions to the problem, driver alert systems offer a way to help reduce the likelihood that a drowsy or fatigued driver will cause an accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conventionally estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be just the beginning, since currently it is difficult to characterise crashes to fatigue.
Suddenly, everyone is monitoring their heart rate and counting their steps – or so it seems. Can carmakers get in on this trend with telematics and help drivers stay safe, alert and healthy while driving?
For many intelligent transportation enthusiasts, the first autonomous connected vehicle will be the first step towards safe and connected driving. Those automatically connected cars will know when you are feeling tired and know when you’re awake and fresh.
Wouldn’t you want an alarm to go off if you fall asleep driving?
The European Union’s HARKEN concept proposes a solution to address the stated need is a nonintrusive sensing system of driver’s heart and respiration embedded in the seat cover and the safety belt of a car. It will detect the mechanical effect of heart and respiration activity, filter and cancel the noise and artefacts expected in a moving vehicle (vibration and body movements), and calculate the relevant parameters, which will be delivered in a readable format to integrate it in a fatigue detector.
This is possible by monitoring cardiac and respiratory rhythms. That is the objective of the HARKEN project: to measure both variables in a nonintrusive manner in a environment of vibrations and user movements, by means of smart materials embedded in the seat cover and the safety belt of the car.
In this short video – the technology behind the HARKEN Project is explained. The system uses embedded, nonintrusive in-cars sensors to monitor a driver’s heart rate and respiration. The car is able to determine if its driver is suffering from fatigue and warn him that his driving ability has become impaired.
The project, part of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, aims to address the 7,000 fatigue-related fatalities that occur annually on EU roadways.

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