Beat fatigue by the seat of your pants

Seats that warn drivers they are falling asleep at the wheel by using sensors that detect heart signals could be developed for HGVs.

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University have secured funding to explore how an electrocardiogram sensor system can be integrated into the fabric of vehicle seats, and they want to develop it for lorry drivers first.

The system would detect heart signals to indicate if a driver is becoming fatigued before a warning is sent for the driver to pull over.

The researchers said that if a driver ignored the warning, the vehicle could engage systems such as active cruise control or lane departure technology to prevent accidents. Department for Transport statistics show that driver fatigue is a contributory factor in 20% of motorway accidents.

Professor Tilak Dias, from the university’s advanced textile research group, said: “The aim of this product is to save lives.

“With driver fatigue being a contributing factor in about one in five collisions on motorways, it makes sense that, if our feasibility studies are successful, we target this technology towards those drivers regularly doing long distances on our major highways, and hauliers are clearly a priority in this area.”

  • This article first appeared in the 31 July edition of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe?