New Technology Looks To Prevent Sleeping Behind The Wheel

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Drowsy drivers are responsible for tens of thousands of crashes every year — hundreds of them, fatal. Several automakers and companies are offering systems designed to detect and correct the problem of falling asleep at the wheel.

The latest comes from Panasonic, which combines a camera for facial recognition with several sensors — including one to measure a driver’s “level of thermal sensation.”

Artificial Intelligence crunches your expressions, blinking, and body heat. Should it predict drowsiness will increase, it activates the air conditioning.

If it senses the driver’s getting too cold, the AC goes down and the music volume goes up.

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If that’s not enough to keep you from dozing off, it recommends a stop along your route where it’s safe to rest.

In the future, it could take into account sleep data from a fitness tracker to help its predictions. Panasonic’s tech should be available this fall.

Rather than studying the driver, Volvo’s system looks at the car, keeping an eye on its position within lane markings. An alarm sounds when it senses you need a break.

That’s also the result of Mercedes Attention Assist. It uses a profile built during the first minutes of your drive, and considers things like how you interact with vehicle controls as it monitors for signs of fatigue.

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