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Posted: September 14, 2007
Micro- and nanosensor smart system to wake up sleepy drivers
(Nanowerk News) Greek Transport Institute IMET at the National Center for Research and Technology Development in Thessaloniki is working on a smart system that will be able to monitor alertness levels in drivers, recognize symptoms of sleepiness and give drivers a wake-up call according to Greek new agency ANA-MPA. The system comes equipped with micro and nano-sensors that will be able to measure levels of wakefulness and warn drivers when they are becoming dangerously sleepy or distracted, so as to ensure safer driving behavior in drivers who are tired or have drunk alcohol -- conditions shown to be responsible for a large percentage of serious accidents.
Micro-cameras placed in the vehicle will measure the rate of movement of the eyelids and sensors in the steering wheel, the seat and the roof will measure the pressure applied by the hands, the course and position of the vehicle relative to the lanes and the surrounding vehicles, as well as the movement of the body and the driver's head," scientists explained. The system will then be able to use algorithms to calculate when these parameters do not meet the requirements for normal and safe driving and warn the driver to stop, either with an auditory message or a visual message appearing in the mirror or even a "vibrating buzzer" fitted in the seat belt that will wake the driver up.
Researchers have found that sleepiness increases the risk of an accident by three or four times more than when a driver is alert, while it is responsible for 15-20 percent of accidents overall. They also found that the 2-3 seconds before accidents take place are usually crucial. According to IMET's research director Evangelos Bekiaris, it is expected to be completed in early 2008 and will go into production for use by car manufacturers within the next five years.