A Canberra company has inked a deal with the world’s largest mining equipment manufacturer to roll out eye-tracking technology to reduce driver fatigue.
Seeing Machines has signed a deal with Caterpillar, which will supply and sell the technology for its approximately 40,000 mining trucks around the world.
Known as the Driver Safety Solution, the technology uses sensors to detect when drivers are distracted or falling asleep at the wheel and then sets off an alarm and a vibration in the seat.
“We observe the eyelid behaviour, the duration of blinking and velocity of the eyelid and measure that as someone becomes more and more tired,” said Ken Kroeger, chief executive of Seeing Machines.
It can also send an alert to the site dispatcher.
BHP Billiton and Newmont Mining are already trialling the technology, which costs up to $20,000 to install.
It is already in use in 2,000 trucks around the world.
A 2011 study based on Australian coroners inquest examinations suggested driver fatigue caused around 10 per cent of reported truck crashes.
Mr Kroeger says he is hoping the technology will have implications for drivers everywhere.
“Mining was our first priority in a commercial marketplace and the next cab off the rank is the trucks,” he said.
“It’s a matter of time – we have programs underway with automotive manufacturers today.”