New Technology to Detect Drowsy Drivers

The good news is that technology is currently being researched to detect when drivers are falling asleep behind the wheel. The University of Leicester is studying how to track a person’s tiredness through brain waves and eye movement.

Researchers are using LED lights and infra-red cameras to detect eye movements that are associated with drowsiness such as; rapid blinking, changing eye movement patterns, and the inability to focus on the road ahead. Researchers are using an EEG machine that sits on the driver’s head like a cap to read brain waves. With the data collected, a computer can then tell what combination of signals from brain waves and eyes movements indicate that a driver is not alert. Because the research is still in early stages, the equipment is bulky. Researchers hope that a more simple design could be ready within the next three to five years.

This technology is also helpful to researchers developing self-driving vehicles. A concern regarding self-driving vehicles is that the person driving the vehicle may not be alert if the vehicle would need to switch from self-driving to human operated. New technology to detect drowsy drivers may also be used in the effort to create self-driving vehicles.

Source: CNN, “Tech to detect when a driver is dozing off,” Heather Kelly, July 9, 2013