How to detect driver fatigue early using technology

One of Sacyr's main activity focuses is on occupational safety. Hence, the attractiveness of Simbiosys, a project jointly developed by Sacyr and a research group from the Integrated Systems Lab from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (LSI-B105) and B105 Electronic Systems Labs, from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros en Telecomunicación, which was financed by the Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico e Industrial (CDTI).

The development phase of this project has already finished, but it has multiple potential applications. 

There is a problem of occupational accidents caused by fatigue and distraction among heavy machinery operators (construction machinery, goods handling machinery, public transport, snow plows, etc.). On the one hand, this problem is aggravated by the difficulty of measuring fatigue symptoms throughout the working day, and on the other, by the increase of said fatigue in critical situations.

“This project developed an innovative tool for the characterization of physical and mental fatigue associated with driving. The tool consists of an EEG sensor, which could be fitted, for example, onto the driver's headrest, in addition to a camera in the rearview mirror of the vehicle that monitors the diver's blinking patterns. An algorithm specially developed for this purpose determines the driver's level of fatigue and its evolution in time, and warn them using alerts", explains Rubén Jover, Head of R+D+i at Sacyr Concesiones.

This system's main new feature consists of integrating multiple types of sensors to obtain information and behavior patterns from machine operators.  



"Today, most high-end automobile companies decide to include this feature". We must evolve in such a way that this technology can be applied on older vehicle models to measure fatigue", stresses Álvaro Araujo Pinto, a university professor and Co-director of the B105 Electronic Systems Lab.

"As an electronic systems lab, we have continued to develop these technologies to apply them for other purposes, for instance, on Alzheimer patients. We have advanced from only measuring fatigue to studying these types of neurological pathologies, which manifest on other points of the cerebral cortex", explains the professor. 



"We could do other things with EEG sensors apart from detecting driver fatigue, such as behaviors common to other brain related pathologies. The problem is that you need to wear electrodes on your head, so we are working on developing wearable devices", affirms Álvaro Araujo.

The next step in this application would be going into production. This feature could help garbage trucks or snowplow trucks drivers, gardening and facility machine equipment operators, etc. 

  • Machinery
  • Driving

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