Smart Seatbelt Sensor Detects Drowsy Drivers


As more smart technology is added to vehicles, the Biomechanics Institute (IBV) in Spain have developed a heart rate sensor that can detect when a driver is beginning to fall asleep.

The Heart and Respiration In-Car Embedded Non-Intrusive Sensors or Harken,  works by measuring the heart and sensory rate of the driver.

The sensor is located in the seatbelt and seat cover and is able to detect when a person is falling asleep. Upon detection, the sensor lets off an alarm that wakes the driver.

“When people go into a state of fatigue or drowsiness, modifications appear in their breathing and heart rate. Harken can monitor these variables and therefore warn the driver before the onset of symptoms of fatigue,” stated Jose Saolaz, IBV director of innovation.

Harken was funded by the European Union and ¬†was designed using smart materials that “seamlessly integrate into the seat cover and the seat belt.”

The Signal Process Unit, which is where the data is stored, is located at the bottom of the seat and allows the signals to be processed in real time.

Harken is now being tested in real traffic conditions and if successful it will be available to the public in the coming years.

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