Long-haul commercial or owner operator truck drivers average 2,000-3,000 miles per week. This kind of driving can produce fatigue, especially if stress or other circumstances prevent a driver from getting a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night. However, there’s a new technology in the works that detects driver fatigue. When a driver becomes drowsy, the technology sounds an alert or sends a video clip to his manager for verification, who then contacts the driver on the radio.
How does it work? The technology developed by SeeingMachines uses face recognition software that “recognizes” classic signs of fatigue and drowsiness. These include head positioning and the amount of eye closure. Most people readily recognize these drowsiness symptoms and have no difficulty assessing alertness in others. Likewise, the software picks up on the same cues and can make good assessments. It uses a lighting system, camera, and speaker.
Fatigued drivers slip into brief periods of micro sleep in which parts of the brain shut down. During micro sleep, the person is literally asleep with his eyes open. He cannot detect this state on his own because the conscious part of his brain is shut down. People in this state sometimes snap out of it after an event, such as getting jarred by a bump on the pavement. Afterwards, they have no recollection of their passage down the road while they were in this state.
Caterpillar Global Mining is working with SeeingMachines and uses the technology in a number of its mining trucks. They hope to install it on all of their trucks worldwide. Other companies such as Volvo are developing their versions of the technology, and it’s clear that it’s just a matter of time before it becomes more widely available.
For more information on driving safety, or if you have questions about affordable commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Florida, feel free to contact us.