It is estimated that most of the fatal accidents occur during the nights when the drivers are drowsy or go to sleep on the wheel. As the sleep gets induced, the eyes close and naturally there is no sense of control or any sort of reaction mechanism when a situation warrants avoiding a collision. Hence companies all over the world have tried constantly to come out with innovative ideas to somehow detect when the driver falls asleep on the wheel and avert major disasters.
Solutions range from buzzing an alarm to automatically bringing the vehicle to a stop if the driver sleeps off. But nevertheless, the toughest part of the cycle is to accurately detect drowsiness or the state of sleep and react before it is too late.
Some companies from the East have already started finding indirect ways to detect sleep, while companies in the west and major automotive suppliers are continuously working on detecting sleep during driving.
One such measure to detect sleep is to have a statistical analysis of the driver’s driving behaviour. It is seen and formulated by a major company that the amount and pattern of steering a vehicle during normal driving and drowsiness has a significant difference. During drowsiness, the steering wheel is almost in a constant position while driving and suddenly followed by jerks or a change in the steering pattern. While this pattern of steering behaviour has been essential to detect drowsiness and avert accidents, there are other technologies too wherein parameters such as the speed of vehicle, gear shifts and the time of driving (midnight etc) could help in detecting indirectly the state of drowsiness during driving.
The automotive industry still waits for that elusive sleep detection sensor which could serve as the Holy Grail to avoid a large number of accidents and save lives.