Still an endless 50 kilometers until the finish. On a night drive for three hours, the only companion: a monotonous drizzle. Chewing gum, fresh air, coffee - nothing helps you stay awake. The asphalt and the lights of the oncoming vehicles blur in the spray. The situation is tiring and microsleep is threatening.
Now the latest generation of driver-camera-monitoring-systems, which know how to prevent microsleep, is also moving into the world of commercial vehicle cockpits. In fact, it is so modern and innovative that driver recognition takes place even under difficult conditions. This innovative product from the supplier DENSO was introduced in FUSO commercial vehicles. And so Global Procurement Trucks and Buses awarded the Japanese company DENSO as the winner of the Daimler Supplier Award 2017 in the Innovations category. DENSO is a global automotive supplier with approximately 150,000 employees and 188 branches worldwide – an important partner for Daimler.
Reaction time reduces up to 50 percent
Scientific studies assume that about 25 percent of all major traffic accidents on freeways are due to excess fatigue. When driving long distances in the dark or under the same conditions and long straights, the risk of microsleep is greatest because your attention is reduced and monotony increases the risk of falling asleep. Studies show that the reaction time can be delayed by as much as 50 percent after four hours of non-stop driving. Together with Daimler, DENSO has further developed the existing fatigue detection systems, taking driver safety to a new level.
Wide awake when drivers get tired!
The new driver monitor system not only recognizes the driving behavior of the truck driver, but it also creates an individual driver profile at the start of each trip, which is constantly compared to current sensor data. This permanent observation is important in order to detect the smooth transition of the driver from awake to fatigue and to warn the driver in sufficient time.
Highly sensitive monitors capture the driver’s facial expressions, even if the driver is wearing glasses. During the first few minutes of each trip, these recordings, together with the data from additional sensors, provide an individual behavioral pattern that is constantly compared in the electronic control unit of the vehicle with the current driving behavior and the respective driving situation. This allows the system to detect typical indicators of fatigue and warn the driver accordingly on the on-board display.
Three questions for DENSO Executive Director, Hirotsugu Takeuchi
Mr. Takeuchi: With the innovative introduction of the new driver monitor system for detecting fatigue at the wheel, DENSO has made an innovative step in terms of active safety. That is why your group of companies has received the Daimler Supplier Award 2017 for innovation in the Trucks and Buses segment.
Please answer these three questions for us.
What is your secret to success?
To achieve the driver-camera monitoring system for the vehicle, we need to optimize the whole system in order to align the real circumstance, especially sun light. Near infra-red LED, band pass filter, global shutter imager, pulse emission of LED, well designed LED lens and exposure control, all these technologies are optimized harmoniously for driver’s face image recognition.
What particular hurdle did you have to master?
To support individual differences of “face”, we took place face image acquisition globally. Over 6,000 people images were acquired at motor shows in the world with sufficient attention given to personal information. Also, drowsiness estimation logic required detailed and long term experimentation and people-watching with driving simulator and test drive at proving ground.
How did your team receive the award?
The award is a recognition that our driver-camera monitoring system achieved calling attention for unsafe state which could be happen on any driver like drowsiness or fatigue or inattention with stable performance. We want to contribute Daimler group with our next generation driver-camera monitoring system continuously.
We thank you for the answers and congratulate you and your team for the innovative achievement and the well-deserved award.