In the absence of strict liability, adequate policing of the roads and robust sentencing, it appears to have fallen to car manufacturers to reduce road danger. Jaguar Land Rover aims to reduce the number of crashes caused by daydreaming drivers by monitoring their brainwaves for signs of stress, fatigue and lack of concentration.
Project ‘Sixth Sense’ also monitors the driver’s heart rate, respiration and levels of brain activity to assess performance and identify daydreaming drivers.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover Director of Research and Technology, said: “One key piece of new research is to see how we could measure brainwaves to monitor if the driver is alert and concentrating on driving. Even if the eyes are on the road, a lack of concentration or a daydream will mean the driver isn’t paying attention to the driving task. They may miss a warning icon or sound, or be less aware of other road users so we are looking at how we could identify this and prevent it causing an accident.”
By continually monitoring brainwaves, Land Rover believes an on-board computer could assess whether a driver is focused, daydreaming, sleepy, or distracted.
“If brain activity indicates a daydream or poor concentration, then the steering wheel or pedals could vibrate to raise the driver’s awareness and re-engage them with driving,” explains Dr Epple.
A logical extension of this technology would be for the car being driven by someone with poorly performing brain waves to be brought to a safe stop.
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