Smoking and phone using driver detection software developed

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Israeli developer of artificial intelligence-based (AI) computer vision systems, Eyesight Technologies, has added new features to its DriverSense and FleetSense solutions to detect driver distraction as a result of cell phone usage and smoking.

Studies suggest that distractions are responsible for 80% of all accidents on the road and 25% of accident-related fatalities. The single greatest distraction to drivers, the use of cell phones accounts for 25% of all accidents and 14% of all fatal accidents on the road. According to a recent AT&T survey, 43% of teenagers and 49% of adults admit to texting while driving, with cell phone usage cited as the cause of 1.6 million accidents annually in the USA alone. The same dangers hold true for smokers, as an independent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded, accidents were two to three times more likely as a result of smoking while driving.

Eyesight Technologies says the new features will be added to its existing distraction and drowsiness detection capabilities to further mitigate driver distractions and prevent accidents. The company’s in-vehicle camera-based DriverSense driver monitoring system (DMS) analyses the driver’s facial features, including head pose, gaze vector, blink rate and eye openness to detect signs of drowsiness and distraction. The latest update increases the scope of the driver monitoring to extend beyond physical attributes of the driver to recognize driver actions, and can now detect the smoking of a cigarette and cell phone-related distractions. The new capabilities enable car manufacturers to intelligently alert the driver based on the type of distraction detected; cell phone usage may trigger one type of alert while showing signs of drowsiness can trigger a more urgent response.

With 67% of long-haul truckers in the USA smoking cigarettes according to a study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, preventing smoking in the cabin during the transport of certain materials is a top priority for fleet managers. In the USA, it is illegal to smoke while transporting hazardous material (hazmat) shipments such as oil and gas. Eyesight’s addition of the new detection capabilities to its FleetSense aftermarket DMS telematics system will enable fleet managers to receive real-time updates and set alerts for the presence of cigarette smoking during the transport of sensitive materials, improving upon old protocols of random inspections and manual monitoring of driver dash cams. The feature will also have future applications in the shared car economy, eliminating the presence of smoking in communal cars, such as rentals and autonomous taxis where there are no drivers present to enforce policies.

“There’s no greater distraction and danger on today’s road than mobile phones,” said David Tolub, CEO of Eyesight Technologies. “The average driver doesn’t realize that looking down at their phone to check a text is six times more likely to result in an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol. Our first priority is the safety of all people on the road, and eliminating the distraction created by our cell phones is a huge step towards a much safer road.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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