Chinese truck drivers will now be using Israeli artificial intelligence technology to send them alerts when they are distracted or drowsy, in order to help prevent accidents.
Herzliya-based eyeSight Technologies has teamed up with Chinese GPS and telematics firm Exsun in a bid to make trucking safer, helping commercial trucks comply with new Chinese regulations that have come into force to cut accidents caused by driver drowsiness and inattentiveness.
eyeSight’s solution uses an infrared sensor together with computer vision to help monitor drivers’ direction of sight, pupil dilation, eye openness, blink rate and head position to see in real-time if they show signs of drowsiness, are inattentive or not focused on the road. Once drowsiness or distraction is detected, eyeSight provides an alert in real time.
More than a quarter of a million people a year (over 700 a day) are killed in traffic accidents in China, according to the World Health Organization, and millions more are injured. Road accidents are the leading cause of death for residents of China aged 15-44. Accidents involving large vehicles like trucks are much more likely to be serious or fatal.
Chinese authorities are demanding that trucking companies combat this danger. Shenzhen, one of China’s largest and fastest-growing cities, recently passed a law requiring all heavy trucks to have driver monitoring systems (DMS) installed by June.
To meet these new safety requirements, eyeSight and Exsun have signed a “multi-million dollar deal” to produce a post-market DMS that can be installed in trucks even after they are already on the road. EyeSight’s camera and computer vision AI will be part of Exsun’s fleet management and telematics solutions, which are installed in hundreds of thousands of trucks.
Truck safety is a problem worldwide. According to the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were more than 100,000 truck and bus accidents in the US in 2016, resulting in 4,500 deaths. The Labor Department’s statistics show that being a truck driver is the deadliest job in America.
EyeSight expects that future regulations will include a driver-monitoring component too, and anticipates bringing its DMS to haulage fleets in the US and worldwide, the company said in a statement.
“Driver exhaustion and drowsiness are serious issues in the trucking industry,” said Gideon Shmuel, CEO of EyeSight, in a statement. “With Exsun’s help, our Driver Monitoring System will give Chinese truck drivers vital real-time alerts that will prevent accidents and save lives. The technology helps truckers and other large commercial vehicle drivers, protecting them and everyone they share the road with, all around the world.”
Exsun is a supplier of GPS and telematics systems, along with air pollution monitoring systems. More than 3 million vehicles have Exsun products installed and its positioning service has more than 10 million end-users.