Driver Sensor Technology Anticipates Signs of Drowsiness

Accidents caused by drowsy drivers tend to result in serious damage as they are unable to hit the brakes or turn the steering wheel in time to avoid a dangerous situation. Aiming to prevent this type of dangerous driving, Fujitsu has developed a sensor to detect drowsiness. The system constantly monitors the driver’s level of drowsiness via a smartphone; moreover, it sounds an alert if drowsiness is detected, thereby reducing overconfidence ("I'm fine") or carelessness ("My mind wandered off for just a second").

Drowsiness is detected via a clip-on sensor attached to the driver's ear

The advancement of ICT has made people's lives safer and more convenient. Consider, for example, the automobile as an everyday mode of transportation. You may sometimes use public transportation such as a taxi or bus. At other times, you may drive your own car.

When using an automobile, you must be wary of traffic accidents. In particular, traffic accidents caused by driving while drowsy pose a high risk of becoming major accidents, such as a tour bus crash on the expressway. Therefore, country-wide and municipality-wide efforts have been made to prevent these types of accidents.

Fujitsu is contributing to help these efforts with ICT; Fujitsu Laboratories has been working to put a drowsiness detection sensor into practical use. This sensor detects the drowsiness of bus, truck, and taxi drivers while they are driving. A clip-on heart rate sensor attached to the driver's ear measures and sends heart rate data, which is closely related to one’s pulse, to a smartphone. Using Fujitsu's original pulse fluctuation analysis technology, changes in pulse rhythm that appear when a person is drowsy are detected in real time.

Based on this mechanism, we have created a system that constantly monitors driver's level of drowsiness and sounds an alert to the driver when drowsiness is detected as well as suggests that the driver take an early break upon detecting signs of drowsiness.

Over 70% of all traffic accidents are said to be due to human error, such as dozing off while driving. Through the development of drowsiness detection technology, Fujitsu is working to implement a driver support system that prevents such accidents from occurring.