A Bracelet To Help Drivers Increase Efficiency
Scientists have come up with a bracelet called Steer that will help drivers to not fall asleep behind the wheel. Steer detects the driver’s level of drowsiness by analyzing heart rate and skin conductance and warns when his or her condition is close to sleeping and hence can help fleet managers and taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber to run their teams more effectively and cut considerable cost of operations.
Needless to say, a substantial number of road crashes that take place every year are the direct result of driver fatigue. Global driving data estimates that over 3.2 Lakh car accidents are caused by driver fatigue while 25 percent of all accidents are caused by drivers falling asleep on the wheels resulting in as many as 30,000 mortalities.
In the US alone, the National Sleep Foundation showed that 60 percent of the drivers have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than 33 percent have slept at the wheel. Unfortunately, this leads to a shocking statistic, showing that in reality, it is almost as dangerous as driving drunk.
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The new device not only alerts drivers about their state of drowsiness, but actually wakes them up, so that they are safe to continue the journey. Analysts believe, each day, there are millions of people who move from one place to another in their vehicles. Some travel short distances while others need to drive for long. However, only a small percentage of these people are aware of how dangerous it is to drive while feeling tired.
According to a report on Techtree.com, while driving drowsy, the driver is very vulnerable to “micro-sleep”. Micro-sleep can last for up to 30 seconds, and when it occurs, the driver is unconscious and does not respond to any environmental sensors, such as sound or light. Micro-sleep is often a result of sleep deprivation, but also often occurs while driving monotonously for a long time.
Taking everything under consideration, Steer prevents the driver from experiencing micro-sleep at the very first signs of tiredness, making them much safer on the road. The device uses 16 highly accurate sensors, which measure the driver’s heart rate and his skin conductance (galvanic reaction of the skin).
The technology being used in these sensors is the same that is used in polygraph (lie detector) tests by the police, but society had very little access to them in dealing with global problems such as drowsiness behind the wheel. When the driver switch on Steer, for a minute it analyzes your normal heart rate and skin conductance, and then it refers to these indicators to determine whether or not you are getting tired. The device assesses the driver’s condition every two seconds and when it detects a decrease in the heart rate by 10 units, Steer will release a strong vibration and a yellow light.
All this would mean that as the driver is close to sleep, Steer will wake her or him up with a gentle electric shock. As a result of these simulations, the levels of serotonin, noradrenaline, and cortisol in the body increases, and the level of ‘sleeping hormone’ melatonin goes down. These changes will the driver feel fresher and less drowsy and cause the heart rate to become normal.
While more devices, people and data get connected, the opportunities in taxi aggregator firms and fleet management too are expanding steadily. Fleet tracking, routes optimization and real time tracking as well enhanced safety and security and other technology innovations are changing the way traditional fleet were managed.
Companies that manage use fleet telematics to collect real-time information such as vehicle location, fuel usage, speed, mileage and insights into driver behaviour to reduce operational expenses. According to a Cisco study, vehicle management is the area where tech-based efficiency efforts are most needed, and it comes at a time when vehicle manufacturers are investing in IoT, sensors and wearable technologies to enhance their efficiency.
In the words of Steer co-founder Vlad Ilyin, “The bracelet will keep you awake much better than two to three cups of coffee or canned energy drink or even loud music that is put on to distract from sleep. It is safer, more effective and more reliable than ever.”
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