Smart Steering Wakes Sleepy Drivers

By Ken Briodagh June 23, 2015

Tired driving is, statistically, about as dangerous as chemically impaired driving, studies have often shown. Since there is such a danger here, the developers at Hoffmann+Krippner and Guttersberg Consulting thought they ought to do something about the problem. On June 23, the teams announced the SensoFoil steering wheel.

By using enhanced SensoFoil technology, which is made of super-thin environmental sensors, to measure grip pressure, manufacturers can now add an extra level of safety to vehicles. During normal driving, the operator is constantly moving their hands on the steering wheel, changing pressure as the fingers grip the wheel. With the sensors inside the steering wheel, a vehicle can sense if the driver’s hands stop moving whether the operator has fallen asleep with their hands on the wheel or if their hands are no longer on the wheel at all. Once a problem is detected, it will trigger a safety protocol to either wake up the driver or implement corrective measures.

Image via Shutterstock

Traffic experts claim that about 25 percent of all accidents are caused by extreme fatigue while driving. This makes nodding off or “micro-sleep” a leading cause of accidents.

This type of sensor can also be used to sense pressure in certain locations to allow for controlling emergency, entertainment and communication systems right from the wheel.

“Pressure Sensing SensoFoil cost-effectively provides extra features and capabilities to a diverse range of products,” said Jens Kautzor, CEO, Hoffmann+Krippner. “In addition, this sensing technology requires very little external energy since power consumption is very low. The sensor system is insensitive to electromagnetic radiation and therefore ideal for the automotive, aerospace and medical sectors.”

The implications for regular driver safety should not be underestimated, but the real champions of this kind of implementation should be the supply chain folks and long-haul truckers who are often behind the wheel for long hours and driving tired, at risk for accidents. Let’s get those folks behind a smart wheel instead, shall we?

For more about this kind of technology, join us for the Connected Transportation conference at IoT Evolution Expo, August 17 to 20 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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