Sponsorship places drowsy detection company on world racing stage
Australian technology company Optalert has announced a sponsorship with Professional Formula 3 racing driver Dylan Young.
Optalert CEO Scott Coles said the sponsorship would be effective for the term of the 2016-17 MRF Challenge Formula 2000 Championship and provided an excellent opportunity to show off Optalert’s technology in the professional racing arena.
“Optalert is the world’s leading provider of early-warning drowsiness detection products and has recently opened up opportunities for licensing in the automotive industry,” Mr Coles said.
“This sponsorship with up-and-coming professional racing driver Dylan Young provides a great opportunity for us to show how our technology can be integrated in the automotive space and simultaneously monitor and protect Dylan from the dangers of drowsiness,” he said.
“Our 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.
“Dylan has to travel significant distances and cope with jet lag while he competes in the championship and we believe our monitoring of his drowsiness levels will provide him significant advantage over his competitors.
“He’ll get a really clear picture of when he needs to rest and when he is most alert and that can only help him when he has to perform on the track.”
Dylan Young is one of only a handful of Australian racing drivers competing internationally on the pathway to Formula 1.
“When I was first introduced to Optalert, I was thrilled to be talking to a company with similar values and an excellent track record in safety,” Mr Young said.
“We are both Australians competing on the world stage, and we are both primarily focused on the automotive industry.
“Motor racing is an expensive sport and without the assistance of companies like Optalert, I would not be able to compete, and the added bonus is the data I’ll be able to gather from their drowsiness detection technology is going to be valuable throughout the championship series.”
Mr Coles said this sponsorship came on the back of recent success integrating their technology with collision avoidance technology from GE Mining; part of global transportation pioneers the General Electric Company.
“This sponsorship with Dylan is another significant step for our company as we set our sights on licensing our technology to the passenger car market,” Mr Coles said.
“I have a clear vision for Optalert’s technology assisting drivers in every vehicle around the world to ensure they stay safe from the dangers of drowsy driving.”
Optalert is an Australian technology company with a head office in Melbourne. They were founded by world-renowned sleep clinician Dr Murray Johns and have been operating commercially since 2006 with products installed in mine sites and transportation companies across the globe.
Optalert’s drowsiness-detection technology is based on two 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), named after Founding Director Dr Murray Johns who also created the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
When a driver is reaching a point where they could become drowsy, they are alerted with visual and audible alarms to make sure they stop driving before they enter a micro sleep.
Dylan Young background
Dylan Young is one of only a handful of Australian racing drivers and a leading representative from Melbourne, competing internationally on the pathway to Formula 1. He began his racing career in karts at the relatively late age of 17 before progressing into single-seaters in the Formula BMW Pacific Series, treading the same path as current Australian F1 star Daniel Ricciardo and debuting with current F1 drivers Daniil Kvyat & Carlos Sainz Jr.
Young quickly progressed up the ranks firstly via the JK Racing Asia Series, and then into the MRF Challenge featuring more powerful Formula 3 cars. Leaving Australia gave Dylan the opportunity to race in multiple Formula 1 Grand Prix support events in the junior categories including the iconic Singapore GP night race under the watchful eyes of F1 team bosses.
Dylan has outclassed some of the hottest international driving talent including F1 test drivers, FIA LMP1 Le Mans contracted drivers and even former Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan (2005, 2011-2012) with multiple podium finishes at Formula 3 level in the MRF Challenge.
Dylan’s performances resulted in an invitation to test with the official junior team partner of the Sahara Force India Formula 1 team in their GP3 Series car and this trial has resulted in him being targeted by teams to compete in the 2016 GP3 Series, which is a direct feeder category into Formula 1.
MRF Challenge 2016/17 dates
Round 4 (Races 13-16): February 17th – 19th 2017, MMRT Circuit, Chennai India (followed by prize gala)
Photos available on request.