There’s a major problem at the heart of every commercial fleet. That problem causes accidents, injuries and deaths numbering in the thousands every year. It’s not a technology problem or mechanical one and it’s a problem that exists despite the very best efforts of all involved. That problem is human frailty.
We all share the same frailties that cause this issue and even the very best commercial drivers suffer from issues caused by these frailties, that ultimately lead to incidents and accidents. Fatigue and stress, both individually and especially combined, can cause the most diligent of drivers to have a momentary lapse of concentration that can cause them to do anything from reverse into a pole, make a lane change while a vehicle is in their blindspot, turn into a side road without taking care and crushing a cyclist, or simply being distracted and driving into a stationary line of traffic.
Traditional technologies and regulations try to manage the extreme instances of fatigue by limiting driver hours, but according to ROSPA, driver fatigue is believed to be a contributory factor in as many as 20% of road accidents and these types of accidents are 50% more likely to result in serious injury or death.
Fatigue is not solely about lack of sleep, but can have the most innocuous of origins. Monotonous roads, a heavy lunch and the taking of certain medications can all lead to disastrous results. Likewise, stress can be caused by anything from time pressures, issues in a driver’s personal life, traffic conditions and weather conditions.
But ProVision believes there are solutions to these issues that involve the implementation of what they call ‘CameraMatics’ technology. This merges 4 key technologies: video input systems, such as cameras and video-based scanners, smart processing systems, communications systems and unique algorithms. The merging of these technologies produces smart solutions that can keep the driver safe, while reducing the risk of an incident occurring, and inform the fleet manager of any increase in risk, allowing them to take corrective action as required.
A range of CameraMatics products were launched by ProVision at the recent Commercial Vehicle Show in late April of 2017. They include a number of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) solutions, such as Lane Departure Warnings, Forward Collision Warnings, Driver Fatigue, Smoking and Mobile Phone Use Warnings. The Driver Fatigue system, for example, tracks the driver’s eyes using a special camera that locks onto each iris. Should the driver’s eyes close, or his/her head drop for longer than a safe interval, the system gives a loud audible warning to the driver and sends an alert to the fleet manager.
Additionally, ProVision announced 360-degree camera technology that creates a top-down, bird’s eye view of the vehicle, allowing the driver to see everywhere around them, eliminating blind spots.
These products are extremely effective at dealing with imminent dangers, but what if new products existed that could predict potential dangers minutes or even hours before the danger developed, allowing the driver to rest or seek attention? This is the next level of research and product development that ProVision is engaging in. But achieving this goal requires a new breed of technology that uses camera-based systems to detect ‘triggers’ that can ultimately lead to excessive stress or fatigue. These triggers include heart rate, heart rate variability, eye movements and pupil dilation. Combining high-quality camera technology plus advanced algorithms allows very precise analysis of these triggers to deliver warnings to the driver about their physical state and ability to drive. For instance, they may be unwell and their blood pressure too low to drive safely. This would give a warning before they pass out. Technology like this could avoid an accident as happened in Glasgow in December 2014, when the driver suffered neurocardiogenic syncope, a fainting episode caused by drop in blood pressure.
These kinds of systems are not far away, thanks to a technology partnership between ProVision and a truly innovative company. Think Biosolution is at the very forefront of CameraMatics, using camera technology and cutting-edge algorithms to track a driver’s vital signs such as pulse, respiratory rate and blood oxygen levels. Working together, Think Biosolution’s advanced developmental technologies and ProVision’s extensive motoring and commercial fleet products expertise, will combine to deliver working and practical ADAS products that will protect drivers and fleets like never before.