What is the Optalert JDS™ and why is it leading the drowsiness monitoring field?

Optalert’s sophisticated software algorithm, leads the drowsiness monitoring field, by providing the next level layer within driver monitoring systems (DMS). 

Optalert’s scientifically validated Johns Drowsiness Scale (JDSTM) enables an objective, real time, quantifiable measure of drowsiness.  Applicable across ethnicity, gender and age, the JDS™ empowers the driver with the ability to avoid dangerous microsleeps.  Providing a continuous numerical score of the driver’s impairment, the system not only cautions the driver, but it also informs the vehicle, with early prediction of drowsiness.

Drowsy drivers display certain driving behaviour as their ability to control a vehicle safely becomes impaired. Optalert’s algorithm keeps an eye on the driver’s drowsiness and attentiveness.  It monitors eyelid parameters and driver behaviour and identifies any signs that the driver is losing attentiveness to the point where safety is being compromised.

What is the JDS?

The JDS™ was developed by Dr. Murray Johns, a world-renowned authority on sleep medicine and sleep research. He also developed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), which is now a world standard method for measuring a subject’s general level of sleepiness in daily life. The JDS™ was developed specifically for use with Optalert’s technology, measured by a wearable device in industrial, with particular emphasis on the velocity and duration of the upper eyelid during blinks. The JDS™ has now been applied to camera systems capable of measuring eyelid aperture, even at relatively low sampling rates in an automotive environment.

The JDS™ is a composite scale based on weighted values of many different variables reflecting the short-term variability of blinks and eyelid closures, duration and velocity characteristics, measured each minute. This weighted combination of ocular parameters provides a single, sensitive measure of dynamic alterations in alertness and drowsiness and does not require adjustment for individuals. Importantly in an automotive environment,  it is also not susceptible to false positives.

The JDS™ is a 10-point scale; a score of 0 = ‘very alert’ and 10 = ‘very drowsy’. Peer-reviewed research has shown as levels of drowsiness increase, the risk of performance failure also increases. The term ‘performance failure’ refers to the inability of a person to respond appropriately, such as failing to respond to a visual stimulus (for example, responding to a stop signal) or failing to turn the wheel during a bend in the road. A drowsy driving accident will occur if a performance failure coincides with the need to perform a safety critical task.

The risk per minute begins to increase only slightly as JDS™ scores rise above 3.0. This risk increases substantially at JDS™ scores of 4.5 or above. Once JDS™ scores reach 5.0 or more, the risk of performance failure (i.e. the risk of an accident) is sufficiently high, in fact, several times higher than for an alert driver.

Utilizing a combination of human factors, sensors, software and algorithms, drivers and vehicles can now be equipped with advanced warning of drowsiness and monitoring of attentiveness.  The output of the Optalert software, the driver drowsiness level (JDS™) can be used as an input to other vehicle systems for unparalleled safety and driver protection.

Optalert leads the field in driver drowsiness monitoring by providing the most advanced measure of drowsiness & attentiveness in the automotive market.  Tier 1 automakers now have the ability to embed the technology directly into driver monitoring systems (DMS).

Optalert’s algorithm is provided as a software development kit (SDK) and can be licensed for development and testing purposes or for volume deployments. A technical demonstration system is also available on a rental basis.

For more details on the JDS™, see the JDS™ white paper: