Fear not, and sleep no more! A European company has conceived of a technology to stay vigilant when you aren’t. Read more below:
In 2013, fatalities in the United States due to car accidents totaled exactly 32,719.
While it is unsure exactly what percentage of that number is due to
drivers falling asleep, insurance companies often attribute it to about 10%.
This means that almost 3300 people per year die as a result of nodding
off at the wheel. Now, imagine a technology built into your car that could sense when
you were falling asleep behind the wheel and could wake you up before it was too late.
Imagine 3300 saved souls.
Harken, a European technology consortium, claims that they have a prototype
system that does just that. It utilizes a set of smart textiles with electrical
properties that are woven into the vehicle’s seat belts and seat covers.
Utilizing these conductors, the driver’s heart and breathing rates can be
electronically monitored and analyzed, and if it appears that the driver is nodding off, a
“wake up” alarm can be sounded.
How accurate is it, you might wonder? “The rhythm of heart beats, specifically
heart rate and heart rate variability, are good indicators of concentration and
wakefulness,” states a researcher at Harkin, “whereas the decrement of respiration
rate has proved to be correlated with increasing fatigue in monotonous driving.”
Press Releases from Harkin state that the system has “been tested by users in
closed track tests, in order to prove its effectiveness under real-life conditions” and
is moving into testing in “real traffic scenarios”. If this technology works as well as
expected, a vast number of lives could be saved every year and we can rest assured that
our roads are just that much safer.
Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.