New App Sounds the Alarm If Drivers Get Drowsy
CREDIT: ASP Technology
Just in time for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, a National Sleep Foundation public awareness campaign, there's a new app to help keep drivers awake on the road.
As many as 1.9 million drivers had a car crash or a near miss due to drowsiness in 2009, according to a National Sleep Foundation study. Even more surprising, 28 percent (54 million) have driven while drowsy at least once per month, it said.
"The problem," Thomas Balkin, chairman of the National Sleep Foundation, said in the report, "is that although we are pretty good at recognizing when we feel sleepy, we do not recognize the process of actually falling asleep as it is happening."
To reduce the road hazard, ASP Technology has launched its Anti Sleep Pilot app for iPad and iPhone, an extension of an in-dash device the company introduced earlier this year, providing wider access to sleepy drivers.
How it works
The Anti Sleep Pilot App calculates fatigue level, helps maintain a driver’s alertness and when that begins to flag, tells the driver it’s time to take a wake-up break. The safety system uses an algorithm to calculate driver fatigue in real time.
Drivers set a baseline risk profile for the app by answering a 12-question test that includes queries about age, sex and the numbers of hours worked per week.
The answers are important because men, for instance, are twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving, according to the company's research. Other key factors include an individual's Body Mass Index (a rough measure of normal or abnormal weight), if the person works more than 60 hours a week and, for women, if they have given birth in the last six months.
A quick check is taken before the driver starts a new trip that includes factors such as how much sleep you've had in the last 24 hours. During the drive, the app continuously calculates the driver's fatigue level by combining information from the risk profile, his or her status before the trip, trip-related data such as the time of day and the anticipated cumulative drive time, along with periodic response tests.
The progression of a driver's fatigue level is displayed on the iPhone screen. A series of light and sound tests break the monotony of driving and maintain the driver’s alertness by prompting him or her tap on the iPhone or iPad. The Anti Sleep Pilot App records the driver's reaction time. If that reaction rate becomes too slow, the app sounds an alarm, alerting the driver to take a rest break because he or she is close to dozing off.
The application is integrated with Google Maps and gives drivers an estimate of the distance they will cover before the next break is scheduled.
Anti Sleep Pilot App is available in the Apple App Store for $20. The app will also be available for other smartphone platforms, including Blackberry and Android, in the coming months. A dashboard option is only available in Denmark for now.
With the new app, smartphones — long the target of distracted driving reform — can now be used to improve driver safety rather than impede it.
- How to Protect Your Smartphone from Malware
- The Best Apps for Your Health: Sleep Trackers
- 10 Best iPad Apps for Road Warriors