Driver Fatigue Detection
CANBERRA, Australia--December 14 2013: Seeing Machines, (SEE.L) has signed a strategic agreement with Royal Beuk, a leading European Coach & Tour operator, for the deployment of automated Fatigue Monitoring Systems to ensure driver alertness and safeguard coach passengers. The installation of the Fatigue Monitoring Systems will be the first time in the world that coach passenger safety has been protected by automated detection of driver fatigue and distraction, and is being put in place to eliminate the risk of catastrophic coach crashes.
The agreement and partnership with Royal Beuk builds further on Seeing Machines’ success in transportation markets. The company announced in May a strategic agreement with Caterpillar Inc. that has resulted in worldwide availability of its Fatigue Monitoring Systems through Caterpillar authorised dealers, and in August announced that 110 BHP Billiton mining trucks in Australia mines would be equipped with the eye-tracking technology.
Under the agreement Royal Beuk will install Seeing Machines’ Fatigue Monitoring Systems in its own fleet of coaches and in coaches and trucks of partner companies. An initial 20 vehicles, selected by Royal Beuk will be equipped with the Fatigue Monitoring Systems with plans by Royal Beuk to expand the use of the technology across its entire fleet of 60 coaches on the successful completion of the nine-month evaluation. The results of the evaluation will be used for the further development and enhancement of the Fatigue Monitoring System for use by cars as well as coaches and trucks. Royal Beuk will then also act as lead European distributor of the systems for coach and truck fleets across Europe. Initial vehicles selected to trial the Fatigue Monitoring Systems will include the long-distance coaches used to for journeys within Europe and trucks transporting dangerous chemicals.
“Although coach transportation is statistically proven to be the safest way of travelling, there is always a risk,” says Marc Beuk, Research & Development Manager of Royal Beuk. “Driver fatigue is something that we can protect against to an extent through training and good working practices, but “risk never sleeps”. The use of the Fatigue Monitoring Systems on our and other coaches is about eliminating that risk. It is most critical on the long-distance journeys, where we might be taking children to a holiday destination for example, and our aim is to have the fatigue detection technology in place ahead of this years’ winter sports season.”
The Seeing Machines Fatigue Monitoring System is based on patented eye-tracking technology that can detect if a driver is distracted or falling asleep at the wheel. Using sensing equipment that requires no re-calibration between different drivers, the system tracks head alignment for potential distraction of the driver while simultaneously tracking and analysing eye behaviour to detect micro sleeps. This enables warnings to be given through in-cab alerts, or for alerts to be provided to operations management for direct intervention.
“Eye tracking technology has a major part to play in keeping drivers and passengers safe on the roads,” said Ken Kroeger, CEO of Seeing Machines. “The technology has already been proven in extreme environments such as open cut mines and now promises to bring the same benefits to public roads.
“While coach travel has a good safety record, accidents do happen. These are often shocking and incredibly sad, with many unfortunately caused by driver fatigue or distraction. If we, together with Royal Beuk, can help eliminate the risks of fatigue and distraction then we will have taken a big step forward to safeguard the drivers and passengers who use Europe’s coaches.”
The selection of Seeing Machines’ Fatigue Monitoring Systems followed a multi-year evaluation by Royal Beuk of available technologies. The Seeing Machines eye-tracking technology, which was originally designed for mining trucks and has seen adoption by companies such as Caterpillar and BHP, was adapted in consultation with Royal Beuk for the public automotive sector.
Seeing Machines, (SEE.L), is an AIM-listed technology company that specialises in visual computing systems that track faces, eye and facial features in real time. Its software and engineering services are used in products and applications that range from devices that detect eye disease to prevent loss of sight, to those that improve driver safety and save lives. Seeing Machines technology is used worldwide across the automotive, mining, gaming, transport and aviation industries; as well as many of the leading academic research groups, transportation authorities, and Defence Departments. Seeing Machines is based in Canberra, Australia, and Tucson, Arizona and counts Caterpillar, BHP Billiton, Toyota, Nissan and Motorola among its customer