DRIVING TIRED: Fatigue is one of the top killers on Queensland’s roads.
DRIVING TIRED: Fatigue is one of the top killers on Queensland’s roads. Contributed

Are we babysitting drivers who don't know when not to drive?

WE HAVE breathalysers attached to ignition systems in vehicles for drink drivers.

The next step in driver safety technology is fatigue monitoring systems.

Seeing Machines, (AIM:SEE) 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.

Recently Seeing Machines signed a strategic agreement with Dutch company Royal Beuk for the deployment of automated Fatigue Monitoring Systems to ensure driver alertness and safeguard coach passengers.

Every time I talk to traffic police about the top causes of accidents on roads, fatigue along with drink driving and speeding are the first things they mention.

But the question remains - when will the driver be made to be fully responsible for their actions?

Are we just providing a bandage solution to the problem of accidents on our roads?

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 CEO of Seeing Machines Ken Kroeger.

"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."