New German device stops drivers sleeping at the wheel

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Car Rental News - 11/11/2010


Scientists in Germany have created a device that can stop drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.

Researchers based at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology have come up with a system that employs tiny cameras to monitor eye movements for signs of sleepiness. When a driver looks about to fall asleep, the system sets off an alarm.

The cameras used by the system can track drivers line of sight, even when they turn their head left or right. Up to six cameras are mounted on the car’s dashboard. They have tiny lenses of only three or four millimetres in diameter.

The system handles as many as 200 images each second, scouring them for signs of sleepiness. The systems uses a range of parameters to judge if a driver is about to go to sleep. This includes such things as eyelid position and the driver’s line of vision.

Professor Peter Husar said the system had been developed to be a small, modular system. It comes with its own hardware and the programmes are carried on board so the cameras themselves can compute the line of vision.

The system, called Eyetracker, has at least two cameras that capture stereoscopic images that can calculate measurements in three dimensions. This lets it easily determine the spatial position of key aspects of the drivers eyes and vision. The system could be available by the end of 2011 for about £100.

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