Have you ever traveled as a passenger in a car driven by a drowsy driver? Or have you felt the sleep come on while manning the wheel? Stress and long driving hours often contribute to the behavioral phenomenon of drowsy driving. This is quite a common driving… (Featured image is for representational purpose and has been sourced from http://www.jbsa.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2001846499/)
Have you ever traveled as a passenger in a car driven by a drowsy driver? Or have you felt the sleep come on while manning the wheel? Stress and long driving hours often contribute to the behavioral phenomenon of drowsy driving. This is quite a common driving behavior which is often overlooked. A market study conducted by Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests that about 83.6 million people suffer from drowsiness while driving every day. An estimated 5,000 lives were lost in drowsy driving-related crashes in 2016 in the United States alone.
Unlike drunk driving, drowsy driving goes unchecked. In an effort to solve this problem automobile and technology companies are collaborating to introduce a decentralized braking system, similar to the emergency chain found in trains.
Braking technology is being extensively worked upon aligned to development of autonomous vehicles. Voice recognition and artificial intelligence are being leveraged to enhance safety in the case of drowsy driving. During an instance of drowsy driving, an artificial intelligence system will recognize the speech effect of the driver and/or passengers, analyze if there is imminent danger and immediately maneuver the car to a safe zone and stop it. The voice recognition system may be programmed to identify voices of specific people who regularly use the vehicle. It may also extend to use haptic technology depending on a driver’s pressure control on the steering wheel and accelerator.
Toyota is leading this research and has filed 21,544 patents in braking technology. Other major players researching braking technology such as drum braking and anti-lock brake systems (ABS) include Hyundai, Nissan, General Motors, and Volkswagen.
Ten major automakers – Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo – have incorporated automatic braking technology as a standard feature in all their vehicles. These systems use radar, laser or cameras to sense an impending collision and automatically apply brakes to prevent a crash.
Jaguar Land Rover has implemented Driver Monitoring System (DMS) in conjunction with Seeing Machines and Intel. Jaguar has a steering-wheel-mounted camera that can “see” where the driver is looking — even if the driver is wearing sunglasses. A camera monitors the eyelids of the driver and an AI system determines if the driver is drowsy. The system detects the slow, progressive tilt of the head to one side, which often means the driver is falling asleep. DMS has the potential to enable safety and reduce the cause of accidents due to the driver’s inattention.
In 2013 Jaguar Cars Limited published a patent GB2500690A which describes the use of a camera to monitor the driver. Data is generated to identify the position or movement of the driver and transmitted to a controller. The controller controls the operation of the DAS and/or vehicle systems based on the driver’s field of vision. The controller selects an operating mode which initiates preemptive measures such as pre-charging a vehicle braking system to avoid or mitigate a potential incident.
In 2003 Honda published a patent KR20050015771A. This patent discloses an anti-drowsy driving system to apply brakes in an emergency situation by memorizing habits of drivers in an ECU and maintain braking stability. This anti-drowsy driving system comprises of a speech recognition sensor disposed at the vehicle to map the relation between a high-frequency speech band of a driver and deceleration.
Leading automotive brake system companies focusing on hydraulic brake, disk brake, and anti-lock braking system include Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd (1,348 patents), Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd (627 patents), Brembo SpA (302 patents), Continental AG (2,047 patents) and Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation (823 patents).
Chongqing College Elect Engineering, a Chinese institute, disclosed an emergency brake control circuit based on voice recognition through its patent CN204279325U. The controller receives a vehicle speed and a voice recognition signal. Based on these alerts a signal is sent to an electronic braking controller. The electronic braking controller then applies the brake.
In 2016, Daimler AG, a German multinational automotive corporation, published patent CN105667475A, disclosing an automatic brake system that detects a scream from a driver in danger. The brake system automatically functions and stops the vehicle.
Technology to recognize driver habits and take over automatic control of a vehicle in case of a dramatic change in driver habits is being explored and developed. There is a white space in decentralized braking technology as it extends braking power to everyone in a vehicle. This technology has a large scope especially in manual cars and may be implemented by the end of the decade. Meanwhile, the evolution of automatic cars are expected to further this technology and make road travel absolutely safe.
(Featured image is for representational purpose and has been sourced from http://www.jbsa.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2001846499/)