Driver alerting device
Many car accidents are caused by driver sleepiness, victimizing the conductor, passengers, people in near distance vehicles and pedestrians. The use of stimulating beverages and drugs makes things worse, as it creates an impression of overcoming fatigue.
Currently available solution
Major research is being conducted in order to detect driver fatigue by analyzing digital images of eyelid, head and gaze movements, facial expressions, lane changing etc, but it may
be too late to prevent an accident.
The proposed solution
This driver alerting device is a preventive way to maintain awareness and concentration in fatigue-like situations. The alert provides a pattern that captures drivers' attention based on the natural fatigue process, staying effective throughout the entire trip. It consists of a sequence of sound tones and colorful lights that mimics the bioelectric activity of the human brain.
The idea behind it
I became interested in the problem during a car trip while observing my own attention level decrease in time, which inspired me to learn more about the mental fatigue process. I found out that, while driving, a three-stage periodical cycle causes psychological stress:
1) Fatigue sensation;
2) Recalling of previous concerns;
3) Memory retention.
I then realized that the attention and concentration levels could be maintained by periodically interrupting this anxiety cycle with an alert of the same duration, thus conceiving this alerting device.
An electronic circuit controls a panel containing three 10mm LEDs at the bottom, a bar composed by eight 5mm LEDs in the middle and a sound generator.
The sequence is first triggered by ignition and subsequently after shorter intervals as trip time elapses. The LEDs have the color range of the visual spectrum, but there is a delay in the blue one to stimulate concentration. The sound tones are progressive notes that covers one octave of the musical scale.
This configuration can be deployed to any display; however, it shall be installed within sight inside the cabin.
This driver alerting device may be adopted as a security feature in transportation organizations or in the automotive industry.
Manufacturing will depend on the product requirements:
- As a standalone device, it can be simply implemented using a cheap microcontroller on a PCB, eleven LEDs and other parts widely available at low cost;
- As a feature embedded in vehicles systems;
Applications and further improvements
- Embedded in the vehicle cluster, driving assistance, navigation or infotainment systems;
- Fleet management - ex. the alert goes off upon an event; activation logs; intervals set by considering data in driver’s profile like recent driving records;
- Use of other stimuli (ex. vibration);
- Development of mobile applications;
- Bluetooth connectivity;
- Scientific proof can be obtained by means of biometric measurements.