A new technology is helping sleepy drivers on the road to prevent accidents. A research project at the University of Leicester has combined eye-tracking and brain monitoring to calculate when a driver’s alertness starts to wane. Researchers are studying the behaviors related to sleepiness and distractions. They tracked brain activity using an electroencephalograph, or EEG. A cap covered in electrodes detects what part of the brain are active. A computer can tie that data to specific types of thoughts, and together with eye-movements, the information collected can tell a computer system if a person is getting sleepy.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than 100,000 crashes, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths a year in the United States as a result of drivers nodding off at the wheel. Self driving cars might focus on specific tasks like getting through traffic or fitting into tight parking spots. Drivers will eventually have to refocus their attention and be alert and ready to steer.
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