12 Nov 2016

Tracking eyes to save lives

From This Way Up, 12:15 pm on 12 November 2016
Eyes on screen

Photo: (Pixabay CC0 Public Domain)

A major motor insurer is promoting the use of in-vehicle eye tracking technology to reduce accidents and save lives on our roads. This Way Up looks at how this eye tracking technology works, with Charles Dawson from Autosense and Ian Taylor from NZI Lumley.

NZI Lumley is encouraging its customers in the commercial transport sector to sign up for an Australian-designed system that uses in-cab cameras and monitors to measure drivers' performance, including looking for signs of tiredness and distraction, in real time.

Detailed figures of the numbers of accidents and death caused by driver fatigue and inattention are hard to come by. 

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US conservatively estimates that 100,000 accidents and 1,550 deaths, costing 12.5 billion US dollars every year, are caused by tiredness alone. Meanwhile the Ministry of Transport says that driver fatigue was a factor in 14 percent of fatal crashes leading to 76 deaths from 2013 to 2015 here in NZ.

And driver distraction might be an even bigger issue, with a recent study suggesting that driver inattention plays a part in one quarter of serious crashes.

Agreeing to use this eye tracking system could translate into lower insurance premiums. And with the US car-maker General Motors deploying similar technology in some new Cadillacs from next year, you could see it in your own car before too long.

Testing underway in the simulator at the NZI Traction Seminar in Auckland

Testing underway in the simulator at the NZI Traction Seminar in Auckland Photo: (Supplied)