Technology is the pivotal component in the future of road safety; the speedy growth and development of autonomous vehicles has put technology at centre stage.
Research shows that being awake for more than 17 hours can have the same impact on concentration and reaction times as a driver who has a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.05.
So if the effect and risk is the same between someone who has gone more than 17 hours without sleep and someone who has enjoyed a few too many drinks on a Friday night, why isn’t testing the same, too?
At Optalert, we believe quantifiable drowsiness measurement will be the norm in all passenger vehicles regardless of whether they are autonomous or driver-controlled.
The problem all vehicle manufacturers have had to date is the subjective nature of determining the drowsiness and alertness of the driver.
Car manufacturers have been making claims about their fatigue-detection technology which have not necessarily been backed up by scientific evidence.
Depending on the level of automation of a vehicle, driver dependency in the future could be reduced to zero. Of course, in autonomous vehicles classified at a lower level of automation, an alert and vigilant driver is still required should the driver need to take control.
For now, though, autonomous vehicles still require at least one participant in the car who will remain alert and to ensure they are, they will need to be monitored by drowsiness detection technology.
With Optalert’s technology able to accurately and objectively measure a person’s level of drowsiness, in-car video cameras will now be more than just a marketing campaign, and will be able to truly save lives.
Optalert’s technology concentrates on the driver, not just their behavior, and importantly it can detect when a person is more at risk of becoming a drowsy driver, rather than wake a person who has fallen asleep.
Our technology is based on key measurements which track the amplitude velocity ratio of blinks; essentially measuring how fast and how far a person opens their eyelid after they close it. These continuous measurements are then translated into a score between zero and 10 on their patented Johns Drowsiness Scale (JDS™).
Previously, we had only applied our patented algorithm to our purpose-built glasses, which measure a person’s eyelid blinks 500 times a second using a tiny LED inbuilt into the frame.
With the application of Optalert’s algorithm in video camera technology, we are looking at a whole range of new licensing and integration opportunities with OEM’s and other key players in the automotive industry.