It’s one of the exciting new technologies that was promoted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year: a car that can tell when you’re too drowsy or distracted to drive. This new technology could help prevent sleep apnea related car and truck accidents on the road, and, apparently, it’s just around the corner.
Drowsiness Is Written on Your Face
The secret to this technology is that everyone can tell when you’re driving drowsy, if they know what to look for. It’s not just wrinkles that sleep apnea etches on your face. There are dozens of signs that you’re sleepy!
The car uses facial recognition software by Seeing Machines to track many aspects of your facial appearance. It looks at head position, blink rate, and other aspects of the face to determine if you’re too drowsy to drive. When that occurs, the system will alert you to take a break. The fleet system version even includes 24/7 human support so that an actual person can get involved if a driver is ignoring the system.
As we alluded to above, commercial fleets are a promising market for this technology. Especially considering the emphasis on sleep apnea testing for truckers, it seems that society is working hard to eliminate drowsy driving truckers, and this system is quite effective at it. According to the company’s figures, the technology decreases fatigue- and distraction-related accidents by up to 80%.
Seeing Machines has been working for years in the mining industry. One of the flagship applications was in large dump trucks that have to drive into and out of large open mines along narrow carved roads. The success has gotten the technology noticed, and there are a number of auto manufacturers who want to include this technology in their cars. They are comparing it to the next airbag, meaning that it may soon be required standard equipment in all new cars.
Sleep Apnea Testing Will Still Be Recommended
Although this new technology could significantly reduce the number of serious drowsiness-related accidents, it won’t protect you from many of the other serious risks of sleep apnea, many of them life-threatening, such as heart attacks and stroke.To protect yourself from these dangers, we recommend sleep apnea testing and getting a comfortable, convenient treatment that you will actually use.