Anti Sleep Pilot detects drowsy drivers
By Ben Coxworth
January 3, 2011
According to a 2008 study by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, about 20 percent of all road traffic accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Tired motorists are also eight times more likely than rested motorists to get in an accident, displaying driving abilities similar to those of someone who is intoxicated. The problem is, we often don’t know when we’ve reached that “too tired” state – a situation that the Anti Sleep Pilot was created to address. The Danish-designed device sits on your dashboard, monitoring you and your driving conditions, and lets you know when it’s time to pull over and take a ten-minute rest.
To start using the Anti Sleep Pilot, you complete a short test to determine your personal risk profile. This information is stored by twisting a knob on the bottom of the unit, so several drivers can keep and access their profiles on one device. An adhesive-backed magnetic base attaches to the dashboard, which provides a mount for the device when in use.
Once you start driving, the Pilot continuously calculates your fatigue level, and displays your status. Its calculations combine 26 different parameters, including your personal risk profile, your fatigue status when you started driving, and input from a clock and accelerometer. It also maintains and measures driver alertness through occasional reactive tests, in which you must touch the device as soon as indicated. The longer you take to react, the slower your reaction time is getting – it sounds like it would be kind of like having a little Simon on your dashboard.
Unlike systems developed by Fraunhofer and Lexus, it does not use cameras to monitor the driver’s eyes.
When the combination of variables indicate that you’re reaching your limit, the Pilot’s visible and audible signals alert you to the fact that you need to take a break – the device is light- and sound-sensitive, so its display and alarm automatically adjust for cabin conditions. As the unit is able to monitor time and vehicle speed, it also knows how long you’ve stopped for, so there’s no pulling over for only a few seconds just to shut it up.
The Anti Sleep Pilot is so far only available in Denmark, although interested parties can pre-order on the company website. Its price should be around US$250.