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Can technology be the superhero of human fallability?

31 January 2024

Victoria Laxton from TRL explores the potential of fatigue detection systems and technologies in transport domains.

Unresponsive driver intervention is a critical concern in the development of active safety systems for passenger cars. Drowsiness and attention detection systems are equipped with sensors and steering wheel analysis to monitor a driver’s attentiveness and warn them to take a break when necessary. 

Fatigue detection technology, initially designed to safeguard drivers on the road, could be an innovation that will enhance safety, performance and safeguarding in many roles by improving vigilance and prompting faster response times. In the transport sector, LGV and HGV drivers, bus and coach operators, train conductors, and small ship captains, are obvious candidates. But so are pilots controlling delivery drones, and even the emerging role of remote vehicle operators, who are expected to take control of an autonomous vehicle with no-user-in-charge (NUIC) at any given time. 

Driver Drowsiness and Attention Warning (DDAW) systems are designed to monitor drivers’ levels of drowsiness and warn them when it is no longer safe to be at the wheel.

About Advanced Driver Distraction Warning (ADDW) systems

  • ADDW systems monitor the driver’s level of visual attention to the traffic situation and warns them when they are distracted.
  • DDAW and ADDW systems have a high potential of saving lives on EU roads; potentially preventing 16.9% of all fatal and serious injuries.
  • DDAW systems were mandated to be on all new vehicles sold in the EU from July 2022, and ADDW systems from 2024. They are optional on new vehicles sold in the UK. 


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