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Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Technology Detects Drivers’ Inattention on the Road

Volvo Group Invests in Seeing Machines

According to recent studies, lack of attention is the single largest cause of traffic accidents. Volvo Technology Transfer is now investing in Seeing Machines, a technology that detects tiredness and sends vehicle drivers a warning.

The Volvo Group's accident investigations experiences, and traffic safety research in general, show that accidents are a combination of the human factor, vehicle problems and/or the traffic environment, in which the human factor is responsible for 90% of accidents. The Virginia Tech Transport Institute confirmed this through new research conducted that clearly demonstrates that inattentiveness, caused by tiredness or distraction, is the principal and most significant cause of accidents.

Seeing Machines is a company that was developed through the research results from a number of research projects between 1997 and 2000 at the Australian National University (ANU). The company is dedicated to developing computerized technology that can track and follow head and eye movements and facial expressions. Their technology is applicable for products within vehicle safety, medical diagnosing, simulation, and games areas. Seeing Machines' vehicle safety offerings include a small camera that automatically senses signs of driver tiredness and distraction. A specific calculation program sorts the information from images and calculates the position of the head and rotation, eye movements and eyelid behavior. The degree of the driver's tiredness is measured by registering how the eyes open and close. If the driver closes his/her eyes it is registered directly. Distraction and workload is calculated using head and eye movements.

At Volvo Technology Transfer, Stig Fagerståhl, who is responsible for investing in Seeing Machines, said, "We hope that this technology will reduce the number of accidents on our roads and become an important feature in safety efforts at vehicle manufacturers."

Part of the Volvo Group, Volvo Technology Transfer AB focuses on developing and supporting new projects relevant to the Volvo Group, including investing in companies and projects that are technologically and commercially viable.

One of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, the Volvo Group also provides solutions for financing and service. The Group employs nearly 100,000 people, maintains production facilities in 19 countries, and sells their products in more than 180 markets. The Group's annual sales amount to roughly 27 billion euro. The Volvo Group, a publicly held company headquartered in Göteborg, Sweden, lists its shares on OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm.

Online courses are now available to educate drivers on the rules of the road and the latest defensive driving techniques. Try it today!

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