Friday 10 July 2015

Smart Phones Spot Tired Drivers



Smartphone App to Warn Tired Drivers

Thousands of unavoidable road accidents take place due to driver’s tiredness when theytend to feel drowsy on long journeys which could be as dangerous as drivers with alcohol consumption. Researchers have created a smartphone app which warns drivers if they tend to appear distracted or drowsy behind the wheel, with the help of a blinking light and noise alert to help them overcome this problem.

Smartphone technology is utilised by app to imitate fancier car safety systems by identifying troublesome signs which could lead to accidents. According to TechNewsDaily website it has been reported that most of the updated phones with cameras facing front as well as back enables the app to monitor the driver’s head pose, eyes and the blinking rate in detecting possible drowsiness or distractions, while keeping track on the road ahead.

Computer scientist at Dartmouth College, Andrew Campbell has commented that the distance can be determined between cars in front and whether a driver is changing lanes on the outside while detecting drowsiness and distraction inside. 

Mounted on Dashboard Holder As Hands-Free

The Smartphone is mounted on a dashboard holder as hands-free helper for the drivers and whenever the car safety app tends to identify any dangerous patterns in the behaviour of the driver or outside conditions, it signals the driver with a blinking light and noise alert.

The app developers’ team from Dartmouth College, Autonomous National University of Mexico, and Microsoft Research Asia together with the University of Bologna in Italy had to face big challenges in making their idea a reality. Smartphones do not have the potential ofprocessing video streams from both the front and the back camera at the same time.

Campbell together with his colleagues had to create intelligent algorithms which could switch quickly between the two cameras at the time of processing the data. Quick switching solution meant that the car safety app technically has a blind spot in the front or back at any particular point of time. This problem has been fixed by utilising the smartphone’s other sensors like the accelerometers and gyroscopes in order to find out what goes on in the blind spot either inside or outside the car at any point of time.

Vision Algorithms with Minimum Computing Power

Campbell has informed the website that when the phone camera is looking at the driver, the accelerometer sensor is used to detect if the car is weaving. The sensors are used to fill in when the camera is looking at the wrong place. The vision algorithms of the app has the potential of pushing the computing limits of prevailing smartphones and also slow down the image processing from the cameras.

Hence the developers have created vision algorithms with the minimum computing power essentials as they perform tests on smartphones. The focus of the team lies in completing road testing of the application with small pool of users in November or December. Around 20 people have been enlisted with three various car models though they admit that it would not be easy to push the limits of the app without the drivers almost falling off to sleep behind the wheels. Campbell comments that unless someone is up all night, it would be difficult to predict whether they will be tired or not.

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