A new technology to combat dozing off when driving is being developed by two universities with industry partner Ficosa. The drowsiness alerter, Somnoalert, is a smartphone application that uses inertial sensors and GPS data to detect movements that are characteristic of nodding off at the wheel, such as deviation from the driving lane or sudden corrections. A later prototype also incorporates biomedical sensors to analyze respiration data.
The patented software is the result of a collaborative project between Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia’s Signal and Information Processing for Sensing Systems group led by Santiago Marco, the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya’s Department of Electronic Engineering and Ficosa, a Barcelona-based multinational that researches, develops, produces and commercializes automobile systems and parts.
“One of the main causes of car accidents is drowsiness, especially on long highway trips,” explains Santiago. “Most monitoring systems developed in the last few years have been integrated systems that need to be connected to the car’s system. Our device combines our group’s expertise in sensors and biological data analysis with FICOSA’s vehicle know-how, and is completely portable.”
“Accidents related with drowsiness have a very high social and economical impact, that the key automotive industry players are facing as a whole, in order to reduce current accident statistics,” said Alan Montesi, who heads the project for FICOSA.
Here is a video of the app:
Another video shows the use of the sensor: