If you’ve been driving a car for any length of time, chances are good that you’ve encountered a situation where you were not as alert as you should be. Driver fatigue is a significant problem for commercial drivers, but also plays a significant role in accidents involving personal drivers that result in injury or death. SRG International is a company that has developed a solution to this problem: DADS.
DADS stands for Driver Alertness Detection System, and it consists of a digital camera that watches the driver, and sends the information to the cloud where it is automatically analyzed. The software can detect a problem up to two hours before the driver’s condition becomes critical. The system can generate audible and visual signals to warn the driver. Commercial fleet operators can also take advantage of the system’s ability to track the driver’s location, driving patterns, and state of alertness. The subscription cost for a personal account is $7 a month.
While this is not a wearable technology, it clearly has the potential to have a positive impact on the health of the drivers who use it (as well as the health of their passengers and people in other vehicles). It is easy to imagine wearable systems that might accomplish similar tasks — such as smart glasses that could monitor the alertness of a driver — while performing other valuable tasks at the same time. One interesting question about DADS and systems like it is the status of the data that it collects. For example, in the event of an accident, could law enforcement authorities or opposing lawyers in a civil suit gain access to the cloud data about the driver’s condition in order to press their case? A system like this could have some significant benefits, but the unintended consequences could also be disruptive.