Caterpillar combats operator fatigue

| May 28, 2013

The Driver Safety Solution system includes a camera, infrared lamps and a computer. (Photo: Seeing Machines via BBC)

The Driver Safety Solution system includes a camera, infrared lamps and a computer. (Photo: Seeing Machines via BBC)

Caterpillar may soon include on some of its trucks a set of sensors, alarms and software to detect when an operator is about to fall asleep, BBC reported.

The safety system, Driver Safety Solution (DSS), was developed by Australia-based Seeing Machines and is expected to cost up to $20,000 per vehicle.

DSS detects sleepiness using a camera and infrared lamp to track the operator’s pupil size, blink frequency, amount of time eyes are shut and direction of face.

The system also includes an accelerometer and GPS chip to detect when the truck is in motion, as well as an impact- and dust-proof computer to process the collected data.

DSS is intended to detect extremely short periods of sleep–lasting from a fraction of a second to 30 seconds–known as microsleep. Once microsleep is detected, DSS will trigger an audio alarm and seat vibration to wake the operator. The system also sends an alert to operation’s support staff.

The system still has a few imperfections such as sending the alerts if the operator glances down.

According to BBC, the system has been tested for use on mining trucks.

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