Wearable Sensor Supports Drivers by Detecting Drowsiness in Advance

Approximately 70% of traffic accidents arise from human error, including drowsiness

According to a National Police Agency survey, approximately 70% of all traffic accidents in recent years arose from human error, such as poor safety confirmation, inattentive driving, and careless driving. Worse, from 2008 to 2012, the number of traffic accidents due to careless driving approximately doubled, and those caused by inattentive driving increased approximately 1.5 times. A major factor in the increase of traffic accidents due to human error is overwork.

In an effort to decrease accidents due to overwork, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan is taking measures, such as providing subsidies to bus and taxi companies to install overworked driving prevention equipment. However, there is concern that the burden on drivers will only increase due to a shortage of truck, bus, and taxi drivers resulting from an aging population, declining birthrates, and other factors.

Drivers who are overworked can cause accidents from driving while drowsy and other risky behavior. According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2009, 90% of chartered bus drivers responded that they had felt drowsy or fallen asleep while driving. If the shortage of drivers becomes more serious in the future and the burden on drivers increases, this percentage may rise.

Fujitsu developed FUJITSU Vehicle ICT FEELythm, a wearable sensor device that promotes safe driving. It detects driver drowsiness based on pulse, notifying the driver and their vehicle fleet manager.

Detecting driver drowsiness via ear clip sensor

FEELythm main unit

One feature of FUJITSU Vehicle ICT FEELythm is the adoption of the ear clip so truck, bus, and taxi drivers can use it with less resistance while driving. When drivers wear the ear clip sensor, the sensor collects driver pulse information.

Collected pulse information is analyzed using a unique algorithm and dispersion of collected data due to differences between devices and individual drivers is adjusted. When the device detects driver drowsiness from the collected data with a high degree of accuracy, it sounds an alert from the vehicle installed device or smartphone or vibrates an alert from the sensor to the driver. By connecting these devices to a fleet-management system, data is sent to fleet managers at bus and other transportation companies.

As this system allows for continuous data collection, fleet managers at bus and other transportation companies can provide helpful guidance to drivers based on objective data. It also allows fleet managers to monitor habits and conditions of their drivers appropriately, useful for the review of driving shifts, and safe driving education by sharing of hiyari-hatto (close-call) experiences, as well as health management.

In the future, we will analyze the enormous amount of driver information indicating tension and other conditions collected from drivers with a higher level of accuracy and apply accumulated analysis data to hazard maps. This will make it possible to improve safe-driving management and predict dangers before they occur.

Fujitsu strives to create a future society with less accidents using ICT, where people can lead safer and more secure lives.