LAS VEGAS -- Seeing Machines now offers its Guardian technology in the United States to detect and alert drivers who have fatigue-induced microsleep incidents or driver distraction.

At the American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas, Seeing Machines reported on the success of three fleets running trials of the technology in the U.S. Those results show:

  • Microsleep events (where the driver’s eyes are completely closed while driving) reduced by 100%, 75% and 71%.
  • Cell phone related distraction events reduced by 100%, 97% and 77%.
  • Distraction events at high speed reduced by 83%, 49% and 43%.

Guardian works in real-time, using advanced sensors and image processing technology. A camera and sensor system installed in the cab tracks micro-movements of the driver’s eyes and head to identify a fatigue or distraction event. When an event is detected, the driver receives in-cab audio and optional seat vibration alerts that provide immediate intervention to prevent an incident.

A slow eye close that lasts for 1.5 seconds triggers the alert. Regular eye blinks are ignored. For distraction, that is configurable and typically requires four or five seconds before triggering.

Guardian’s camera views just the driver’s face and only starts recording when it detects a fatigue or distraction event. Then data is transmitted to its 24/7 SafeGuard Center in real time for verification by trained analysts.

This technology has been in use in off-road mining trucks in the U.S. for about five years, according to Mirza Kozarcanin, senior vice president of global business development for Seeing Machines, and in fact Caterpillar is making it available to customers and working on plans to embed it in new vehicles. The company also is working with a rail company and an auto maker.

When asked how the company would position Guardian against active systems that offer collision avoidance and lane departure warning, Kozarcanin said, “There are a lot of trucks that don't have those functions, so this is a way to say we can intervene.”

While currently this is an aftermarket device, the company’s goal ls to eventually see it built into new vehicles.

Kozarcanin also emphasized that fatigue detection is not just for long-haul fleets. In fact, he said, their data showed most fatigue events happened in the first hour of driving.
An Atlanta-based local private fleet, Royal Food Service, is the newest customer for Guardian.

”Even though our drivers and equipment are among the best on the road, we still saw a 70 to 90 percent or higher reduction in distracted driving and fatigue event during the assessment phase,” said Mark McClendon, CFO of Royal Food Service.