Drivers are concerned by ‘revolutionary’ fatigue monitoring AI technology

A container truck driver checks his truck at a terminal of the Inland Container Depot in Uiwang
Driver fatigue is a leading cause of accidents.
Reuters

A new AI system designed to prevent accidents involving fleet drivers was launched this week. The in-vehicle technology will monitor for signs of driver fatigue, along with a range of other safety features.

The system, designed by Addshare, uses a camera to analyse behaviour and detect patterns of fatigue, such as yawning, nodding and head drooping. When triggered it sends a warning telling drivers to take a break.

It also monitors a range of other safety features; such as mobile phone use, smoking, lane departure and braking sharply. Feedback will be provided to the fleet drivers and their supervisors.

It works by utilising two cameras to detect driver behaviour and a device to trigger an alert in the cabin. It also includes software that allows operators to monitor drivers in real time.

Commenting on the launch, Ulrika Allén, VP of Product & Technology Smart Transport, AddSecure said: “This cutting-edge technology will help fleet operators ensure that their drivers are safe on the road.”

She added: “We are confident that our latest offering will revolutionize road safety and help prevent accidents caused by drowsy driving.”

Driver fatigue is a leading cause of accidents. In the UK up to 20 per cent of accidents are caused by tiredness, with one in 8 admitting to falling asleep while driving.

One of the main factors affecting driver fatigue is the length of time driven, making fleet drivers particularly vulnerable.

However, there are concerns about how the technology will be used. There is resistance from drivers as supervisors can watch them constantly and review everything they are doing.

Mark Salisbury, an editor at FleetPoint, explained that the technology has experienced a great amount of development when compared to the previous methods to ensure road safety. “The cloud-based system can give an almost black box indication. Someone 300 miles away can watch the vehicle going along,” he said.

In the past vehicles made use of a tachograph, a device that would draw lines to indicate when drivers had taken a break or what speed they were travelling at.

The new technology is the latest AI innovation designed to improve workplace safety, with the technology’s ability to analyse large amounts of data also used to predict dangerous workplace scenarios. Robots are already used in a number of high-risk situations, such as mining, agriculture and surgery.

AI has long been touted as a tool for supporting driving and logistical work. Recently, sources claimed Microsoft is set to invest in technology to create self-driving trucks.

Evidence shows that vehicle monitoring devices improve driver safety. A recent study by Shell stated they reduced speeding by 60 per cent and serious incidents by at least 29 per cent.

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