Automotive Imaging

Drive Guardian guards against falling asleep at the wheel

editors-choiceDistracted driving continues to pose a major safety hazard to the public and few types of distracted driving are as dangerous as falling asleep at the wheel.

Drive Guardian is a safety alert system with a driver-facing camera that detects drowsiness. After setting it up and turning on a vehicle’s engine, the camera monitors drivers’ eyes and pupils in real-time and, using sophisticated algorithms, the device alerts driver by displaying LED indicator lights and sounding audio warnings whenever they are drowsy or distracted.

Drive Guardian ships in July at $249. But early bird Indiegogo backers can get one for a pledge starting at $169. Its makers hope to raise $50,000 by April 21.

Connected Objects

U-Wake headband keeps drivers from snoozing

It’s a sad truth, but even the most responsible, experienced drivers have found themselves dozing off at the wheel every now and then. For the most part nothing happens, but if something does, it can be terrible. With driver fatigue responsible for over 100,000 accidents in the US alone, some fatal, it’s certainly a problem that needs to be addressed.

Besides copious amounts of unhealthy energy drink or sugar-laden coffee, there aren’t very many solutions to keeping a driver up and alert. U-Wake is aiming to change that with a Bluetooth-connected headband device that uses EEG to analyzes a driver’s brain wave patterns to detect unsafe levels of fatigue. If the driver is found to be too tired to safely handle the vehicle, an alert is sent to the U-Wake companion app to keep them awake and to family and friends to keep them informed, too. The device weighs in at a sparse 25 grams, so drivers won’t even notice it’s there most of the time. U-Wake goes for $185 and is expected to ship in May 2015, provided its campaign reaches the $200,000 funding goal.

It’s very important to make sure all aspects of a driver’s trip, from the car to the drivers themselves, are in tip-top shape. What used to need constant supervision now only needs a few different devices, so the U-Wake is in good company even if its construction is a bit ungainly. This product will be especially useful to long-haul truck drivers. A DRIVE and a Bluetooth tire pressure management system are solid options to round out a person’s next trip and keep their attention focused squarely on the road.