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SAE World Congress, 2012


Driving is a very complex activity which requires the driver's full attention. Nowadays, the human factor is linked to the majority of accidents, and driver distraction is a principal cause.

The objective of this project was to create an active safety system for testing with somnolent drivers in real driving conditions, and so it was necessary to create a system which allowed the driver to handle the car without interfering with driving. The system we developed is composed of a GPS which checks the position and velocity of the vehicle continuously, a robot which decides with GPS data if the vehicle is being properly driven and an actuator over the brakes to stop the car if necessary. The robot takes control of the vehicle if it is not being driven correctly in order to prevent a possible accident. Moreover, an environment closely representative of today's roads was created to make the driving experience more real. This included a circuit with bends or corners to check the capabilities or reactions of the driver.

The main objective of the tests was to acquire behavioral and biomedical signals of the drowsy drivers while driving, but keeping them safe in a controlled environment. Therefore, the task of stopping the vehicle depended entirely on the system. Additionally, there were redundant devices which would stop the car to prevent an accident in the event of any failure of the primary system.

The system developed in the project opens the doors to experimentation with drowsy drivers in real driving conditions, in which there is the possibility of loss of control of the vehicle. It can also be used to increase safety at test track facilities or for other control applications in which safety is fundamental.

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