Volvo has developed a system to deal with the problem of drivers taking their eyes off the road. Some 80 per cent of collisions can be explained by the driver taking his eyes off the road just before the incident, according to new American research.
Around 45,000 people die every year in accidents on European roads, some involving heavy goods transport.
Trent Victor, project manager at Volvo Technology and a researcher at Uppsala University, has come up with the system. With the help of an eye camera, sensors in the steering wheel and a camera in the windscreen, the driver’s eye movements and head movements, jerky movements of the steering wheel and the vehicles’ lane position can be studied. If the driver’s attention is directed too long or too often at something other than the road, or if he is prioritising incorrectly, he is given a warning.
The eye camera contains the function Distraction Alert which consists of a number of LEDs on the instrument panel which create a “running” luminous flux. The flux provokes a reflex in the driver that pulls his gaze back to the road ahead.
“A tired and inattentive driver is just as dangerous as a driver who is under the influence of drink or drugs in traffic. If, with the help of different aids in trucks, we can prevent accidents on the roads then we can save human lives,” says Trent Victor.