Fatigue-Detecting Wearables Aim to Decrease UK Truck Accidents

Our world and everything in it is developing at such a rapid speed that it is often hard to keep abreast of all the latest developments. New technologies in the trucking industry are concentrating on efficiency, autonomy, and safety, especially as far as driver fatigue is concerned. It is estimated that approximately 40% of truck crashes in the UK are related to driver fatigue, reiterating the importance of having systems in place that can not only monitor fatigue but notify the driver when he is in danger.  The following developments are all contributing towards reducing the number of fatigue-related accidents that occur on the roads of the UK every year.

Fujitsu develops ground-breaking IoT device

At the beginning of the year Fujitsu launched a new and innovative IoT (internet of things) powered wearable with the aim to drastically reduce fatigue-induced trucking accidents in the United Kingdom. The device, known as the Driver Drowsiness Detector or DDD is a lightweight device that is worn around the driver’s neck with a tiny sensor clip which attaches to the earlobe, detecting pulse waves. The purpose of the device is to keep track of the driver’s pulse, evaluating fatigue levels and notifying the driver when his risk of possible compromised alertness increases. The system can also be linked to various fleet-management systems to enable managers to also monitor the state of their drivers in real-time. Logistics company DHL is currently testing the DDD in 60 of its trucks, hoping to improve driver accuracy and accountability, while decreasing cover premiums as well.

What other technologies can help detect driver fatigue?

New advances are constantly being made in terms of wearable technology to monitor trucker fatigue. Wristwatches and fitness trackers like those manufactured by Apple, Garmin and Fitbit can help detect fatigue by measuring the sleep quality the driver is accustomed to as well as track biometrics such as blood pressure and heart rate. There have been significant technological breakthroughs as far as caps and hats are concerned. Mining giant BHB Billiton makes use of such caps to monitor the brainwaves of their drivers for signs of fatigue. Other technologies that have been around for some time but are constantly being subjected to improvements are dashcams, GPS systems and lane departure equipment.

If Fujitsu’s DDD is anything to go by, the future of wearable devices to detect driver fatigue looks very bright indeed. Even if only a single truck accident can be prevented in any given year thanks to a detection device it will be enough as one life lost is one too many.  When technological advancements are coupled with responsible human driving practices, the outcome can only be good for all concerned, saving not only lives but substantial amounts of money as well.

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024