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your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road is not
always a conscious decision. Distractions abound, both inside
and outside your vehicle, accounting for an estimated 25-56%
of all collisions-and are the primary cause of accidents.
Scientists at Volvo Technological Development Corporation
and Linköping University in Sweden, in collaboration
with the Australian National University and SeeingMachines
Pty, have developed a first line defense against wavering
driver behavior: a system of in-car sensors that can pinpoint
the moment when drivers take their eyes off the road-and,
more importantly, why.
Integrated with the computerized electronic system of current vehicles, the system provides real-time feedback to the driver on critical safety issues like distraction or drowsiness. Researchers get feedback too, from the multiplex bus network present on most modern vehicles, regarding which distraction is taking place and its effect upon the driver's ability to control the vehicle.
nbsp"It is not enough to know whether a driver is looking at the road or some other object," said Trent Victor a project manager at Volvo Technological Development. "We have to know that what is being looked at has registered in the conscious mind, that the driver has understood what is happening ahead, that it is a cognitive vision. The work that we are doing here enables us to better understand what the driver chooses to look at and the context in which he does so."
advanced sensors and highly specialized computer software,
Volvo and its Australian partners have developed an attention-measurement
system that produces a video image of the driver's face,
superimposed with a beam of light apparently emanating from
each eye. As the eye moves, the direction in which it is
looking is shown by the direction of the beam. This tracks
exactly what the driver is looking at-central rear view
mirror, fuel gauge etc.-then calculates and displays that
information on the video screen. Other sensors detect the
vehicle's actions, speed, pedal angles, steering wheel angle
and control use, and help to determine the driver's behavior
at any given moment.