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Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the no-ambien-walrus-we-can't-drive-to-the-circle-k dept.

Transportation 106

cartechboy (2660665) writes Cars already have the technology to determine when you're drowsy, that's nothing new. But having seats with sensors in them monitoring your heart rate to determine if you're falling asleep, that's new, and creepy. A new project from Nottingham Trent University in the UK is working on an electrocardiogram (ECG) built into the driver's seat to detect heart rate and determine when the driver is too fatigued — or worse, falling asleep — in order to improve road safety. ... The system could take over using active cruise control, lane-keep assist, and other safety technology after warning the drive to pull over. Of course, the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you.

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Not creepy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47454723)

I don't really see how this is creepy... Is an ECG with an alarm in a hospital creepy?

No, it's a sensor which can save your life.

Re:Not creepy (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 3 months ago | (#47454769)

Yeah, and, after you check out of the hospital?
Does the machine that goes 'ping' [youtube.com] follow you around and stand by to neutralize you in traffic when that machine, inevitably, gets hacked?

Re:Not creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455775)

I really don't care. I have sleep apnea. I also have an hour commute. To work in the morning is fine. But on the way home - I get drowsy and start to drift off frequently. I've been driving for 31 years and never once had an accident or a moving violation of any kind (even speeding) - I've developed pretty successful coping mechanisms. I'm still terrified that I'll drift off and rear-end someone. But I would love to have the peace of mind from an automated device to help me in my coping with this defect I have.

Re:Not creepy (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 3 months ago | (#47456419)

Boarding a plane with some toothpaste isn't allowed but this guy can drive drowsy for thirty years.

Still better than alcohol (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 3 months ago | (#47458771)

this guy can drive drowsy for thirty years.

And had no single accident in these 30 years. Still better than all the drunken / texting teens on the same road. Despite the sickness, he's overall safer than you're average driver.

But I see your point about the ridiculeness of the airport security theater.

Active Cruise Control (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 3 months ago | (#47458743)

But I would love to have the peace of mind from an automated device to help me in my coping with this defect I have.

Yeah, but why wait on a system that only kicks in when it detects you're drowsy?!

There are already collision avoidance systems that are *always on*, and constantly monitoring the road, and ready to react and protect the car and you, unless you explicitely override them (you have to push on the accelerator stronger to force the car not to slow down. Might be useful for the 1% case where you know there's no risk but the collision avoidance system gets affraid of an obstacle and slows down).

Such equipment is standard with some manufacturer (Volvo) and this technology is going to get mandatory in a few years in EU.

Re:Not creepy (at all) (2)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 3 months ago | (#47454825)

I wonder if additions like , alarms for texting , talking on the phone , receiving fellatio can be caliberated into this seat . That would be a nice addition . The no. 1 reason for most road accidents is lack of attention . "eyes on the road and hands on the wheel"

Only robots (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 3 months ago | (#47458869)

The no. 1 reason for most road accidents is lack of attention . "eyes on the road and hands on the wheel"

But unless you're a robot, the're no guarantee that you'll be able to keep your eyes on the road *every last second* for all the *decades in total* you're driving.
Nobody's perfect, error do still happen (to err is human, etc.)

But technology can does already help (I'm not speaking about replacing the basic need of attention and allowing everybody to text. I'm speaking about augmenting the attention to compensate for imperfection). And the good news is you don't need robots (or waiting that Google's car hit retail).
Collision avoidance systems are already available today, are standard with some manufacturer and are going to become mandatory in a few years in europe.

The only thing I don't understand is why is there a need to subordinate them to a "drowsiness" detector?!
They already work well enough today, when they are basically "always on" (that's their whole point. Unlike a human they can be perfectly always watching everylast second over the decades of driving) always automatically kick in, and require active command from the driver to be overridden.
(You can slam the accelerator for that 1% corner cases when you know it's safe and that it's just the safety being over paranoid and you don't actually need to break). But in my personal experience the "requires active command" works well enough, no need for an actual "drowsiness detector" (well, unless you're sleep waling and kicking the gaz pedal in your dreams).

Though I see other much better use for an in-car health monitor.

Re:Not creepy (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 months ago | (#47454921)

The difference is in the hospital, the EEG will alert the local nurse, who presumably is tasked with helping you.

Your car may directly help you not crash right then, but it also will be busy notifying the authorities and your insurance company that you are an unsafe driver....

Re:Not creepy (1)

gorzek (647352) | about 3 months ago | (#47456095)

So you're saying you don't want people held accountable for their irresponsible behaviors?

Re:Not creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47456379)

Yeah, if that means that the "authorities" get to monitor my every move. I'd rather people get away with being irresponsible than institutions that profit from fucking people over get away with that. So yeah, in context, I at least am saying that (despite the fact that the OP was not saying that at all)

Re:Not creepy (2)

gorzek (647352) | about 3 months ago | (#47456457)

It's not your "every move," just your actions on public roads. You know, the kind you have to be licensed to drive on, in a vehicle registered with the government.

We are talking about high-speed rolling death machines here. Tens of thousands of people a year are killed in car accidents--most of which are preventable as they result from human error and negligence.

I would not at all object to a prohibition on transmitting any of the data of this fatigue-monitoring system to authorities or insurers. It may follow the same trend as other safety technologies: you get an insurance discount for having it, but the insurer is in no way monitoring how you use it. I'm also not aware of police using remote knowledge of vehicles except in emergencies, e.g. kidnappings, high-speed chases, etc.

Frankly, if someone is about to fall asleep at the wheel and they're ignoring the car's warnings to pull over, I very much would want nearby police notified to get that person off the road. A sleepy driver is a menace to everyone around him.

Re:Not creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47457805)

This won't just detect people who fall asleep at the wheel, though. It detects people who are *sleepy* at the wheel, or for any other cause have a slow heart-rate. It wouldn't know whether you are paying an appropriate amount of attention when it calls the cops on you.

Re:Not creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47457885)

Also, can't they already do this by tracking your eyes? This would be much fairer, since not watching the road would actually be *proof* of dangerous driving. Being sleep deprived only disposes one towards dangerous driving, it doesn't make you do it.

Re: Not creepy (1)

xlsior (524145) | about 3 months ago | (#47459343)

Hard to track eye movement when wearing sunglasses, which many/most people do when driving in summer.

Privacy violation (2)

DrYak (748999) | about 3 months ago | (#47458983)

Your car may directly help you not crash right then, but it also will be busy notifying the authorities and your insurance company that you are an unsafe driver....

Which in European countries will very likely be considered as a very bad violation of the privacy of your medical information.

Also, in that, scenario, it wouldn't even that much make sense: you're not an unsafe driver if you're driving a car which is clearly able to compensate for you problems.

The way the laws tend to work in europe is that any problem, if compensated enough, won't prevent you from driving.

- "You have a bad sight? Well, if you can see good enough with your glasses (as measured by an ophthalmologist), then you can still drive".
Seems clear and basic enough? In most European countries, the same reasoning is scaled up for any other problem.
You don't pay a more expensive car insurance just because you need glasses.

- Epileptic person? Yeah, so what. Having a seizure while driving would be dangerous. BUT if the medication works well enough (as asserted by a neurologist), and you have no seizures, then you can still driver.

In your hypothetical future:
- If you have problems staying focused on the road (having sleep apnea as mentioned above in the thread by a /.er, or have some attention deficit syndrome) and your car's collision avoidance system can compensate for it (say, as a random example, you have a Volvo - a European brand that puts collision avoidance systems as a standard option in all their cars already today), then why shouldn't you be allowed to drive? If repeated test have shown that such cars can break instead of you in case of emergency, why not?

Personally, I will feel safer about the fact that the car behind me* breaks and doesn't rear-end me*. That's the important part for me. I don't give a fuck about who pushed the break. The driver, a driver instructor with a dual command, or a robot. All the same for me. I only care that the car stops and avoids an accident.

Re:Not creepy (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47455093)

As long as it doesn't tattle, it's not creepy.

Re:Not creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455765)

You mean like the fingerprint database from iphones that NSA now has? If private data goes into a machine, tattling will soon follow.

Re:Not creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47459451)

That's why I unlock my iPhone with my dick. The authorities can suck it!

Re:Not foolproof (1)

mackai (1849630) | about 3 months ago | (#47456043)

Perhaps not creepy but, by itself, not foolproof. I have a tendency toward Bradycardia (slow heart-rate). My normal is in the 50's and at times will slow even down to the mid-40's while fully alert and functional. I don't know whether the system in mind incudes other input in order to determine impairment - the article doesn't really say - but heart-rate alone would be far from reliable. To be universally useful, I think that a "fatigue detector" needs more than just one parameter.

Re:Not creepy (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 3 months ago | (#47459051)

"Left! Left!"

"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."

Damn cars (4, Funny)

jargonburn (1950578) | about 3 months ago | (#47454725)

They pry control of the steering wheel out of my cold, dead han-------wait. That would actually be a good thing. ;)

Re:Damn cars (0)

jargonburn (1950578) | about 3 months ago | (#47454737)

What saddens me is that I reloaded the page to check and see whether my comment had actually submitted (I thought I'd accidentally pushed it through before being truly ready), but I guess I didn't wait long enough before checking. *sigh*

Re:Damn cars (1)

Barny (103770) | about 3 months ago | (#47454765)

They should really fix that. I mean, having to take your eyes off the road even more just to make sure it has posted properly is dangerous!

Re:Damn cars (0)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 months ago | (#47454933)

No, it's easy. You just need to touch at the bottom of the screen, then touch the small icon in the upper right corner. Doesn't take any of your attention...

Damn cars! (0)

jargonburn (1950578) | about 3 months ago | (#47454727)

They can pry control of the steering wheel out of my cold, dead han---wait. That would actually be a good thing! ;)

Re:Damn cars! (1)

knightghost (861069) | about 3 months ago | (#47456005)

Traction Control in my car attempts to murder me at least twice each winter. Tech may be better than the average driver... but that means 50% of drivers are better than the tech.

Re:Damn cars! (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 3 months ago | (#47456437)

RTFA. You're supposed to turn the traction control OFF in icy and snowy conditions. There's usually a button for that.

Re:Damn cars! (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 3 months ago | (#47459079)

That strongly depends on the make and brand of the car.

In my car, if you do that you won't even be able to leave the driveway when it has snowed. On the other hand... I see what you did there :)

Old news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47454735)

We've had this in Germany for years.

Re:Old news. (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 months ago | (#47454941)

Why are we getting this article now if this article has been available on the german version of slashdot for years?

Re:Old news. (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 3 months ago | (#47455281)

What.

First cars, next meetings (2)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 3 months ago | (#47454745)

Only instead of auto piloting the meeting for you, the chair will electrocute you to wake your ass up so you don't miss out on the important monologues.

**waves arms wildly** (1, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 3 months ago | (#47454753)

hey /.

just want to draw your attention to the fact that a sensor can be programmed to detect your mood and relay signals in real time accordingly

yes...sure this is **applied** to a car for "safety"

what are the other applications?

how long has this technology existed?

what else could be done with this ability and other E-M behavior of the human body?

these are questions you should be asking yourself

Re:**waves arms wildly** (4, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about 3 months ago | (#47454781)

hey /.

just want to draw your attention to the fact that a sensor can be programmed to detect your mood and relay signals in real time accordingly

yes...sure this is **applied** to a car for "safety"

what are the other applications?

how long has this technology existed?

what else could be done with this ability and other E-M behavior of the human body?

these are questions you should be asking yourself

I wear a tinfoil bodysuit under my clothes.

Re:**waves arms wildly** (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455621)

What's it like going through life with such a low mentation level?

Re:**waves arms wildly** (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47455059)

The technology is about a hundred years old and its other applications are in determining the health of the body, because it's a friggin' ECG. You know the thing that goes "beep beep" in the background in medical shows? Bingo. If you're terrified of this I should warn you: doctors also have this thing called a stethoscope they can use to determine your body's current state from your breathing!

Re:**waves arms wildly** (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455585)

The technology is about a hundred years old and its other applications are in determining the health of the body, because it's a friggin' ECG. You know the thing that goes "beep beep" in the background in medical shows? Bingo. If you're terrified of this I should warn you: doctors also have this thing called a stethoscope they can use to determine your body's current state from your breathing!

Keep on with your assumptions...it'll be funny right up until the point where you find your medical insurance rates have gone up 20% more for you next year. Why? Well, because your "safety" monitor company decided to sell all that "friggin' ECG" data to your insurance company, who has billed you accordingly.

Let's not forget the 7 times sensors detected you "asleep" at the wheel..of course that will be sold to your car insurance company. Enjoy your 10% "at-risk" premium next month.

Oh, and FYI, according to their measurements, you lied about quitting smoking, and they're pretty sure you were driving drunk last Saturday night. Just wait until law enforcement taps in to the real-time monitor...again for your "safety"...

Oh yeah, this 100-year old tech is practically harmless.

Re:**waves arms wildly** (1)

mellon (7048) | about 3 months ago | (#47456687)

Essentially you are saying that you would rather risk crashing your car than have the health insurance companies know your health status. I think there's a teaching moment in here somewhere. If we can't admit to the system that pays for our health care that we have health problems, something is badly broken. If this is the model for why a car being able to tell you are impaired is "spooky," I think the problem is not with the car.

false dichotomy (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 3 months ago | (#47458077)

what are you? a personal representative from the Mellon family?

Essentially you are saying that you would rather risk crashing your car than have the health insurance companies know your health status.

this is a **false dichotomy**

you present two options as if those are the only two options...

> Risk crashing car
-OR-
> have health insurance companies know your health status

total logic error

those two things are not, in any way mutually exclusive...however, making them *seem* that way would surely benefit insurance companies

you first_me never (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 3 months ago | (#47458139)

hey, Sockatume, if it's no big deal, lets have you be first.

just because ***YOU*** are willing to give up privacy b/c of insurance company's artificial scarcity con-job doesn't mean the rest of us want to do the same

you can forfeit your rights/privacy for no reason in a rigged system...

***you cannot make the same decision for everyone else***

Re:**waves arms wildly** (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455101)

*Glados voice* Oh, hello. I see you are getting drowsy. Probably from the halothane vapor I ordered put into the cars ventilation system. Well since you appear to be taking a nap I'll take over now. Our destination has been set to Aperture Laboratory Testing Center. There's ever so much science for us to do INSERT NAME HERE. And you look like an almost fine test subject to do so. Not that there's anything wrong with your weight. I'm sure we can find a jumpsuit in engorged hippopotamus size. Goodnight.

Defibrillator also? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47454793)

Does it come complete, with built-in defibrillator for just-such an emergency?

Re:Defibrillator also? (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 3 months ago | (#47456025)

Yeah, but as its sponsored by google nest, you will get ads for the last thing you googled for while being shocked. And if you took the facebook sponsored seat, your insurance knows you have an heart attack even before it is over.

Re:Defibrillator also? (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | about 3 months ago | (#47458563)

I was thinking the same thing. If you fall asleep, a jolt to the old butt-cheeks might just wake you up before you become a menace. And the fear of it happening again would probably be enough to keep you wired (no pun intended) until you get to your destination.

Creepy? (4, Insightful)

louic (1841824) | about 3 months ago | (#47454831)

the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you.

In this case I disagree. The creepy part is that all those intoxicated and fatigued people still take their car. This kind of techonology should not be necessary but clearly it is.

Re:Creepy? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 months ago | (#47455091)

the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you.

In this case I disagree. The creepy part is that all those intoxicated and fatigued people still take their car. This kind of techonology should not be necessary but clearly it is.

I once knew someone who would drive 400 yards to a pub and quite seriously said that it was because he often couldn't walk properly when he came out, and that just driving down the road "wasn't a problem"!

Re:Creepy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47458449)

Until we repeal our "drunk in public" laws, this is the unintended consequence; it's easier to get away with driving drunk than being drunk on public transit. Our solution to public drunkenness is abstinence only.

Re:Creepy? (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 3 months ago | (#47455155)

I feel this technology has the potential to make the problem worse. People will think it is a full solution to driving under imparied conditions and lose all inhibiiton to doing so. The system will doubtless rescue some of them but time will tell whether the mortality rate ultimately goes up or down.

Re:Creepy? (1)

martas (1439879) | about 3 months ago | (#47456267)

You know what else has the potential to make people feel safer and possibly act recklessly more often? Seatbelts. And car roofs. And the safety catch on a gun. And railings on ledges and stairwells. And literally every other safety feature everywhere that anyone knows about.

Re:Creepy? (1)

Drethon (1445051) | about 3 months ago | (#47455829)

I think the creepy part is the ability of most all humans to ignore or deny the symptoms that indicate they should really just crash on a couch somewhere. Though some people are probably just wired in a way that means they should never touch intoxicants.

Re:Creepy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455855)

In this case I disagree. The creepy part is that all those intoxicated and fatigued people still take their car. This kind of techonology should not be necessary but clearly it is.

The creepy part is that the typical usage of automobiles in the US reflects a feeling of selfish impatient entitlement.

Sober, fully awake drivers will roll through stop signs, speed, pass on the shoulder, fail to yield to other vehicles & pedestrians, and generally disobey traffic laws. If the weather or traffic slows their trip down, a decent number of them will become even more impatient and take more risks. Then there's the in-cab distractions, cell phones, kids, tablets, food, even reading one's snail mail.

If this year is like the previous, the US will see about five million crashes. About two million injuries will result, with over 30,000 deaths.

I wouldn't be surprised if science discovers that most humans are generally unfit for driving.

Bring on the self-driving automobiles for everyone!

Oh, Nooo... (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 3 months ago | (#47456359)

Panic now! Sounds like the Zombie apocalypse is already in full swing!

Nope (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 3 months ago | (#47454837)

The information could also be sent over a wireless network to a control centre to take further action.

The study has received over £88,000 of funding from the Technology Strategy Board, as part of its investment in the development of internet-enabled sensors communicating with other machines and appliances through an information network, known generally as the Internet of Things.

I'm not interested in your fully networked future.
And, as a general principle, I don't want my car calling the police on me to "take further action."

Re:Nope (4, Insightful)

MurukeshM (1901690) | about 3 months ago | (#47455081)

Ah, but others endangered by your actions want it to.

Re:Nope (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 3 months ago | (#47455925)

I'm an other and don't want this either.

I don;t think we should give up any more privacy to protect us from potential problems.

That is how the patriot act was justified

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47458497)

And, as a general principle, I don't want my car calling the police on me to "take further action."?

Ah, but others endangered by your actions want it to.

Those others are even more endangered by the growing police state.

What you want no longer matters. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 3 months ago | (#47456143)

I don't want my car calling the police on me to "take further action."

Your choice? The ambulance or the hearse?

There will be other drivers and other systems monitoring your physical condition and behavior on the road.

The Triple Zero call --- 911 in the states --- will go out. The only questioning remaining is whether you will be responsive when help arrives.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47456825)

The information could also be sent over a wireless network to a control centre to take further action.

The study has received over £88,000 of funding from the Technology Strategy Board, as part of its investment in the development of internet-enabled sensors communicating with other machines and appliances through an information network, known generally as the Internet of Things.

I'm not interested in your fully networked future.
And, as a general principle, I don't want my car calling the police on me to "take further action."

That's nice. Here is your new rate for automobile insurance. Why yes, it is in fact 35% higher than what others are paying. Enjoy.

In other words, Greed says Fuck You Very Much to your Principle. Have a nice day.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47458593)

You're describing the choice to pay more for privacy like it's a bad thing.

Seriously then (2)

MrKaos (858439) | about 3 months ago | (#47454891)

Why can't the fucking thing just drive me home when I'm drunk or sleepy - really that's what all this car automation stuff is all about. Drunk, sleepy - take me home car.

Re:Seriously then (4, Funny)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about 3 months ago | (#47455001)

Why can't the fucking thing just drive me home when I'm drunk or sleepy - really that's what all this car automation stuff is all about. Drunk, sleepy - take me home car.

Dave: Open the pod bay doors, CAR. CAR: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that. Dave: What's the problem? CAR: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do. Dave: What are you talking about, CAR? CAR: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

Re:Seriously then (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47455069)

Because current car technology doesn't do that yet. What it does do is all the driver-assist stuff described in the text.

Re:Seriously then (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 3 months ago | (#47456455)

Because current car technology doesn't do that yet.

Google [google.com] begs to differ.

Re:Seriously then (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#47456083)

Personally, I kind of agree. Until I can read a book, watch a movie, or play video games while my car drives me around, all this car automation stuff is really just gimmicks that make the car more expensive, while not really providing me tangible day-to-day benefits Sure it will lower accident rates, but accident rates have already been going down for quite a while, even without automation technologies.

Re:Seriously then (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 3 months ago | (#47456123)

You could say the same thing about any early adopter tech: first generations are worthless, over-expensive gimmicks that don't actually deliver what the promise. But hey, they do finance R&D for the next generation so the rest of us get the actual worthwhile, cost effective product.

How boring ... (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 3 months ago | (#47454981)

I want the version that gives the driver a shot of adrenaline if he or she is drowsy.

You know, just like the jolt of adrenaline from almost running off the road, just without the almost running off the road.

Re:How boring ... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47455113)

It could always use natural medicine for that. For example, it could suddenly play a recording of truck horns and screeching tires, women screaming, freight train collision sounds and such.

Re:How boring ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455769)

Tell me how that won't make people more likely to crash the car?

Re:How boring ... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47455813)

It's already taken over at that point. They can have control back when their heart rate returns to a reasonable baseline. :-)

But.. (1)

Rashdot (845549) | about 3 months ago | (#47455037)

Will it drive by the seat of my pants?

Tech thats needed? (1)

MCROnline (1027312) | about 3 months ago | (#47455043)

It's all quite useful but the real question is, is there that many deaths / accidents because of drowsiness?

I would think there are statistically higher causes of accidents, like driving without due care and attention or drunk driving.

The tech is good, provided it stops there. We don't need a slew of sensors monitoring our driving habits under the guise of promising lower insurance. Supposing you are in your vehicle and pull into a lay by to have a nap. Is this device going to report you for being asleep at the wheel?

What happens if and when the device malfunctions and you get reported for being asleep at the wheel while speeding down a freeway? How would you fight the hike in insurance? Would you even know or be informed by the insurance company why your insurance premium has spiked?

Re:Tech thats needed? (1)

KitFox (712780) | about 3 months ago | (#47456827)

It's all quite useful but the real question is, is there that many deaths / accidents because of drowsiness?

The 1996 report from NHSTA [nhtsa.gov] says 56,000 in the US annually and more recent information [nhtsa.gov] indicates 110,000 incidents annually, though the injury and death rates remain the same between both claims. Both are also considered under-reported.

Re:Tech thats needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47457727)

What happens if cruise control malfunctions and abruptly accelerates or fails to accelerate? What happens if fuel injection software fails to work?

We have laws about insurance. In some states they can't use any data about driving habits, which would include this. Fighting the development of technology isn't going to stop it from being possible or common - especially if it will make it safer.

Alpha Waves (1)

src1138 (212903) | about 3 months ago | (#47455047)

I had an idea like this to use an instrumentation amp to detect brain waves - when the eyes are closed you get a lot of low freq alpha waves so you can tell if someone is dozing off. I guess this is less intrusive since it's embedded in the seat.

Re:Alpha Waves (2)

MCROnline (1027312) | about 3 months ago | (#47455111)

This sort of tool would be useful for people who have permits to drive but are at risk from epileptic seizures or other brain related medical conditions. A car slowing down, pulling onto the hard shoulder and turning on hazard lights as well as calling medical services would be a real boon to people who have this condition but constantly worry about blacking out. It may even lower their insurance to get the device retrofitted.

Russian automaker of commodity cars (0)

astro (20275) | about 3 months ago | (#47455209)

I initially read the title to be referencing Seat [www.seat.ru] , a Russian maker of affordable cars that are common accross Europe, not as the place you put your backside while you are driving. /me chuckles...

Re:Russian^W Spanish automaker of commodity cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455315)

I could not read your site, but I found a translation of its history
1979-1950 [www.seat.ru]
at
1979-1950 [seat.com]

I never knew that Barcelona is a Russian city.

Re:Russian^W Spanish automaker of commodity cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455475)

It has been since 1994, when East Spain joined the Warsaw Pact.

Re:Russian automaker of commodity cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455339)

Except SEAT is a Spanish brand...

Re:Russian automaker of commodity cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455453)

Seat are Spanish, not Russian.

Re:Russian automaker of commodity cars (1)

astro (20275) | about 3 months ago | (#47458621)

I stand corrected - I really thought they were Russian cars. I also thought Skoda (no Unicode on Slashdot) was a Russian brand, but no, I just looked it up, and they're Czech.

Sounds familiar. (0)

nospam007 (722110) | about 3 months ago | (#47455225)

"Of course, the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you."

Which is naturally...always!
Please let me drive, Car!
I'm afraid, I can't do that, Dave.

Daisyyyyyyy, Daysyyyyyyyyyyyyy.....

It can sense your hear through your arse? (1)

Roxoff (539071) | about 3 months ago | (#47455291)

How big is the sensor it uses? Will it fit?

SmartCap (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47455363)

Rio Tinto Coal Australia is currently implementing a similar system, SmartCap, across all of their open-pit mining operations. The system uses a cap or headband as an EEG, and provides a fatigue score in realtime.

The interesting point of difference is that, unlike a lot of other systems, SmartCap tells you that you are at risk *before* you get to the point of having a micro-sleep.

Keeping in mind these operations run 24/7 and people are in control of dump trucks carrying up to 390t of payload, the benefits are obvious. All mining operations have some level of fatigue-related incidents - humans are not built to do night shift.

YouTube - Coal & Allied SmartCap [youtube.com]

Was this article posted by a 12 year old girl? (0)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 3 months ago | (#47455379)

I don't understand what's "creepy" about any of it.

You want creepy? Seat belts are CREEPY- they touch one of your boobs! Eeeeeeeewwwwwww!

I don't see the problem (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 3 months ago | (#47455671)

What do you mean, 'creepy'? This is a function that automatically switches on existing systems (adaptive cruise control, lanekeeping). As ever, any action you take manually will override this.
My grandfather died in a crash because he fell asleep (or fainted, we never found out definitively) at the wheel. Had this existed 50 years ago, I might have been able to meet him.

and when it gets to EU cars... (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 3 months ago | (#47455919)

Yo dawg, I herd you like seat, so I put a seat inside your seat [wikipedia.org] so you can be drowsy when you be driving.

The future is NOW! (1)

oursland (1898514) | about 3 months ago | (#47456389)

Now I really can drive by the seat of my pants!

Self-Driving cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47456439)

Can't get here soon enough. I hope that I'll live to see the day where humans would be forbidden to get behind a wheel on public roads.

Engineering Challenge! (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 3 months ago | (#47456655)

Now if they can only design a seat for my computer at work...

Insurance industry (1)

opine (3682421) | about 3 months ago | (#47456681)

And exactly how long would it take for the car insurance industry to demand access to the data to "ensure you get the lowest market rate"? That's how it works. First you get a low premium for incorporating the technology, and then when the market gets saturated to a certain level, they switch and you can no longer get a quote (or set so ridiculously high that the difference is debatable) without having the tech installed.

This won't "end" well... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 3 months ago | (#47456695)

Anybody want to bet that when you rip out a real cheek-flapper, your seat's going to assume you're having a heart attack and call 911 or something?

I'd buy it (1)

swillden (191260) | about 3 months ago | (#47456793)

I often avoid driving long distances because I have a hard time staying awake. It doesn't matter if I'm sleepy or not, after an hour or so behind the wheel, I start having a hard time. I drink lots of caffeine, eat spicy snacks, etc., and that usually manages to keep me alert, but sometimes even that isn't enough. I find pulling my arm hair or slapping my legs or face, hard, works pretty well to shock me back into alertness. If it gets really bad, I pull over and jog up and down the side of the road for a few minutes. All in all, I have a set of coping strategies that work reasonably well, and I haven't actually fallen asleep and wrecked in almost 25 years.

But it still worries me, every time I set out on a long road trip I can't avoid.

If this really can detect when I'm actually falling asleep, and safely, gently take over and steer the car to a stop, I'd love it. I'd still use my same stay-awake strategies, but having the automated backup would really reduce my anxiety (which anxiety, BTW, does not seem to contribute to keeping me awake).

Better idea (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 3 months ago | (#47456901)

A wearable medical-alarm device that detects when I'm driving and when I'm dozing off (or legally drunk, or whatever) at the same time. Let it beep at me and let it do whatever per-programmed task I tell it to do if I don't respond.

This task may be to alert the car that the driver is impaired, so the car can take action (assuming the car is equipped to receive such a message). On the other hand, I may program it to call my doctor or the local police.

A device that can tell I'm driving can also tell my phone to send all calls to voicemail and defer notifying me of texts until I am no longer driving.

I'm drowsy now (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 3 months ago | (#47457165)

Sitting at my desk...drowsy. Can this seat do my work for me? And also fail to read summaries and post comments on Slashdot? zzzzzzzzzzz

False Positives (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 3 months ago | (#47457613)

I had the chance to test drive this. However I had had lunch earlier at Taco Bell, and the car seemed to think I was having heart attacks.

trucking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47457995)

This would actually be a great boon to truckers - it would, if used properly, dramatically reduce the kind of accidents we saw with Tracy Morgan where an overtired trucker caused a horrific crash. The truckers would hate it though, but if it's use was mandatory - AND we had some regulation of shippers to prevent them from penalizing drivers who follow the rules it would be a net good thing. We can talk about passenger cars later - lets get the low hanging fruit in the safety world first...

What will they think of next (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47458189)

When are they going invent a chip that you can shove up your ass so it can tweet you when you need to take a shit.

The Cullens May Need to Change Cars (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 3 months ago | (#47459265)

If Volvo takes this idea and adds it to their already-lengthy safety feature list, Ed will need a new car. Cos it will assume a cadaver is trying to drive and not let him zoom around town...
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