Driver attention alert

Mahfuzul Haque writes about the technology that can reduce the number of road accidents in the country

Driver-attentionRoad accident has been a pressing problem in Bangladesh though few measures have been taken to curb this menace. Every day on the roads across the country, a large number of people are killed or injured due to road accidents.
Besides reckless driving and unplanned road structures, it is also reported in the media that accidents many times occur when the drivers talk on phones or fall asleep. The deviation of drivers’ attention leads to fatal accidents.
A teacher from a private university in Bangladesh has developed a software that may acts as a remedy to hold the drivers’ attention while driving on the road in a bid to reduce accidents in the country.
The researcher, Priyam Chowdhury, who is a lecturer at the computer science and engineering department at Southern University in Chittagong, has used Kinect sensor (Microsoft Xbox Device) to read the images of drivers’ faces while they are driving and the software will analyse these images to measure the facial angles. The software will analyse the images from the camera set up on the dashboard in front of the driver to control the driver’s attention.
Priyam Chowdhury says that it has been observed that distraction of drivers usually result to fatal accidents. ‘Such distraction is usually caused by activities inside the vehicle such as looking in another direction, talking on mobile phones, conversing with passengers while driving and so on.’
The innovation will be tracking some physical behaviours like facial angle, lip motion of the driver and other motions to measure the attention level of the driver. ‘The software will be delivering a graph continuously about the drivers’ normal facial angles. If the driver stares away from the road or they yawn when they feel drowsy, there will be a deviation of the normal facial angle, and the device will instantly create an alarm in order to give the driver a signal that they are not driving properly,’ Chowdhury explains.
The level of attention can vary in a range from zero to 100 per cent. While the attention level of the drivers gradually falls down to a critical level (less than 20 per cent) than the system creates the alarm. Chowdhury is now working on how to measure the blinks of drivers in his system.
Chowhury has developed the project under supervision of Dr Mohammed Moshiul Hoque, professor and head of department of computer science and engineering at the Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET).
‘In this work, the main concern was to design a framework to measure the level of attention of the driver in terms of face angle and lip motion parameters properly. After a series of experiments, now we have found its specifications,’ he says. The device has been piloted and was found to be successful at controlling the drivers’ attention, he adds. The whole system (both software and camera) can be set up inside the vehicles costing between Tk 10 to 15,000, he estimates.
He hopes that the system will be able to ensure safe journey if the project is implemented at a mass level.
Chowdhury participated in the Solve-A-Thon competition in the Digital Innovation Fair-2016 and became first in both district and divisional levels. The project has also been selected to be presented in the event titled ‘Innovation Summit – 2016’ that will be held on July 28 and 29, 2016 in Dhaka.

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