Caterpillar considers fatigue-detecting tech for mining trucks

May 30, 2013

(Photo: Seeing Machines via BBC)
(Photo: Seeing Machines via BBC)

Caterpillar mining trucks may soon include fatigue-detecting technology, our sister site, Better Roads, reported.

The technology, developed by Australia-based Seeing Machines, uses a set of sensors and software to detect when an operator is drifting off and uses alarms to rouse the operator.

According to BBC, BHP Billiton and Newmont Mining have performed tests on the equipment.

The technology, Driver Safety Solution (DSS), is expected to cost up to $20,000 per truck.

DSS uses a camera and infrared lamp to track the operator’s pupil size, blink frequency, amount of time eyes are shut and direction of face in order to determine whether he or she is about to fall asleep.

DSS is built for detecting short periods of sleep known as microsleep, which last anywhere from a fraction of a second to 30 seconds. If DSS detects microsleep, it will trigger a combination of an audio alarm and seat vibration to wake the operator. Once the alarms are triggered, the system sends an alert to operation’s support staff.

To prevent triggering the alarms when the truck is not in use, the system includes an accelerometer and GPS chip to detect when the truck is in motion.

All the DSS data is processed and stored in an impact- and dust-proof computer behind the operator seat.

The system still has a few imperfections like sending the alerts if the operator glances down.

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