Fatigue monitoring devices have been used in some industries for years. Recently, pressure has mounted to use the devices on truckers to avoid deadly accidents.
A report in Overdrive noted this technology was originally used in mining, an industry where the closure of a mine after a fatal accident can leave the owner millions of dollars out of pocket.
Daniel Bongers, chief technology officer for SmartCap Technologies, the company that grew out of the early research into fatigue research and mine safety, said it made sense to look at a different way of monitoring fatigue.
SmartCap and two fatigue-monitoring competitors, Seeing Machines and Optalert, are based in Australia, where mining of coal and other minerals is still a massive part of the country’s economy.
The U.S. market was initially hard to penetrate. That is changing. Increasingly trucks in the United States use some form of camera systems for to improve safety.
These cameras are often used for fatigue monitoring, especially when driver-facing cams are installed in cabs. The use of wearable fatigue monitoring devices seems like a logical next step.
More and more fleets are now testing these products, reports Overdrive.
Generally, wearables are less intrusive and better at monitoring tiredness than cameras.
Avi Geller, CEO of Maven Machines said cameras are a powerful invasion of privacy.
His company’s headset measures minute head movements to detect whether a driver is tired. He said drivers prefer such devices to cameras in their cabs.
Dave Reid, a company driver for Pride Transport, told Overdrive, he could bear wearables but not cameras. He said:
“I could abide a device that detects fatigue, but I could not abide any video or audio recording in the cab and wouldn’t work with a company that mandated that.”
Some of the technology depends on science that has been around for years. At least two of the wearables rely on actigraphy, a decades-old science. An actigraph is like a wristwatch. It measures body movement to assess sleep debt.
The sleep history records are then combined with other data through each company’s own algorithm.
It’s mainly the actigraph’s cumulative records of quality and quantity of sleep over a period of days combined with other factors that enable the system to forecast how quickly alertness will decline.
Wearable technology has plenty of potential to tackle tiredness in the trucking industry but it’s at an early stage. Many wrecks on the highways of Georgia are caused by fatigue. If you have been hurt in a tractor-trailer accident call (404) 913-1529.