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Today, Melbourne based Medtech company, Optalert Australia, were announced as the recipient of the Australian Government – Automotive Innovation Lab Access Grant (AILAG). 

 The grant will be used to advance the development of the Optalert Video Automotive technology solution for the objective, early prediction of drowsiness and attentiveness monitoring. The project aims to become a unique automotive innovation for Australia, with potential to lead to both local and international partnerships within the automotive industry. A timely project with the EU parliament also recently backing new measures to improve road safety and reduce road accidents, by making a number of safety features compulsory in new cars.

Drowsy Driving

Sleepiness or Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of road crashes each year, and there is no treatment for drowsiness apart from sleep. It can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced a driver they might be. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for over 72,000 crashes, and 800 deaths per annum.

 Optalert’s technology utilises machine learning techniques and blepharometry (the study of the measurement of blinks), combined with a patented scientific algorithm, to accurately and objectively quantify blinks, for the earliest indication of drowsiness detection and gives us the ability to monitor a driver’s attentiveness.

Johns Drowsiness Scale (JDS)

The key benefit of the project is bringing scientific objective drowsiness measurements to passenger vehicles.  The objective patented Johns Drowsiness Scale (JDS) will allow drivers to take appropriate action earlier and also allow for advanced vehicle systems to take preventative action I.e. the JDS could allow driver assist features, to either take or give control to the driver, pretension seatbelts, provide stimulus to a drowsy driver through environmental control (temperature, sound, cognitive tasks).

New Automotive Innovation 

Optalert’s Chief Technical Officer, Simon Block explains “The product would be a new innovation, not only for Australia but world wide, and would exceed any other competitors technology available today. The video technology solution proposed is human centric, it concentrates on the driver and their attentiveness. It’s not just about the drivers behaviour, but more 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”. 

With the application of Optalert’s patented algorithm to video camera technology, Optalert will be able to provide a new layer in the Advanced driver-assistance systems.  Optalert’s video technology is a promising new approach to address drowsy driving and monitor attentiveness on the roads.  

For more information on the Australian Government Automotive Innovation Lab Access Grants, please see: 

https://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/karenandrews/media-releases/grants-help-drive-automotive-innovation