TORONTO, Tuesday, October 3, 2017– As personal life style and work demands are leading to increased sleep deprivation, driving drowsy has become a dangerous reality. Research shows that about 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015, over 72,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes led to 41,000 injuries and more than 800 deaths.
Alcohol Countermeasure Systems (ACS) research scientist, Ali Shahidi Zandi, Ph.D. presented at the Canadian Innovation Day in Waterloo, ON, hosted by General Motors Corporation to showcase his innovative research the, “Fitness-to-Drive Research and Development Program”. Dr. Zandi presented updates of his research and addressed issues of fatigue behind the wheel.
The main objective of his research is to develop a non-intrusive, reliable, automated detection system that works in real-time to detect alertness in drivers with the goal of improving road safety through monitoring eye movements and blinking. Dr. Zandi’s developments are critical for managing fatigue in drivers and for reducing motor vehicle collisions and human fatalities.
Dr. Zandi’s study included two independent experiments: a sustained vigilance task (SVT), which was monitored in a controlled environment under varied sleep conditions and a more real-world experiment where subjects participated in a simulated driving task (SDT) under monotonous driving conditions. In each experiment, infra-red based eye tracking systems and cameras monitored the various eye movements of participates and advanced machine learning methodologies were employed to analyze the data and estimate the state of vigilance.
The results of the experiments verify a high correspondence between extracted eye tracking features and behavioural and physiological measures of vigilance.
“This research ultimately will lead to the development of an unobtrusive reliable technique for long-term assessment of the state of vigilance, a crucial step towards managing fatigue in drivers and reducing motor vehicle collisions”, says Dr. Zandi.
In a busy, round the clock society, new developments are critical for managing fatigue in drivers and reducing motor vehicle collisions and human fatalities. ACS plans to continue to research and develop innovate, high quality, user-friendly products and services to promote road safety and keep people safe.