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清醒!司机/Keeping Tired Drivers Alert, With No Snooze Button

(2007-04-04 19:56:30)
分类: 我的翻译

无需唤醒键,保持疲劳司机清醒(清醒!司机)

TIM MORAN

    在办公室一周艰苦的工作后,公路在你的前方延伸。车里很温暖,发动机嗡嗡作响。你的眼皮慢慢合上。

    这时,突然一阵风吹向你的后颈。方向盘在你手中震动起来,蜂鸣器骤响。你的车正在叫醒你。

    汽车一直在观察你的脸,通过方向盘监测你的脉搏。它知道你将要睡着了。

    事实上,开车时打瞌睡并不鲜见。国家公路交通安全管理局(美)在2002年的报告中称,一年估计因疲劳驾驶引起超过100,000起交通事故,1,500人死亡,71,000人受伤。这项研究涵盖了1989-92年,是所能找到的最新的数据了。

    我们来这样假设:每次睡意袭来的时候,司机通常会闭上眼睛3秒钟。每小时70英里的时速时,你闭眼的时间内车相当于跑过了一个足球场的长度。

    “整个问题是这样一种现象:人们比以往都更忙碌,他们花费更多的时间在路上,努力保持状态,花费更多的时间在车上,他们疲惫极了,”总部设于华盛顿的公路安全管理者协会的发言人Jonathan Adkins说。

    福特公司一位研究人与技术联系方式的生物力学工程师Ksenia Kozak称:我们在远距离行车时在某种程度上都会打盹。原因是我们多数人都会出现这样的情况:因延长工作时间、改变日程而调整了我们的人体生物钟,干扰了昼夜周期,缩短了我们的睡眠时间。而当我们从事开车等重要工作时,身体正需要的却是休息。

    Kozak博士2006年在福特公司领导了一项对睡眠强迫症状司机的研究。这些司机坐在一台模拟沃尔沃车的Virttex (Virtual Test Track Experiment虚拟跑道测试试验)模拟器中。

    Kozak博士的小组发现当车将要偏离时,通过给司机们一个警告是可以减少一半的航线偏离情况的。她说最好的警告是震动方向盘的同时轻微的向正确的方向做出调整。

    通过询问那些司机,Kozak博士说她发现多数司机对于他们在多次的瞌睡中关于困倦程度的回答是诚实的,但他们并不能十分准确的讲出他们自己的表现。她认为困乏的司机们普遍的高估了自己的警惕性和情况处理能力。

    汽车制造商和交通安全专家长久以来一直在通过使用低技术和高技术方法寻找治疗司机瞌睡的办法。问题是使用低技术比如当司机头部向前倾时能够发出蜂鸣的穿用设备,这种通过线缆连接的设备被证明是笨重、效率低下的。而使用红外线测量点头程度的高技术方法又太复杂和昂贵。使用物理的办法是选择之一,在公路上安装震动带、在行车道和中心线使用凸起的“虫点”( “Botts Dots”)作为潜在的最后提醒,给极度困倦的司机以警告。依据联邦公路管理局的统计,这些被动的措施已经减少了车辆偏离公路造成的交通事故的百分之二十到五十。而一些技术公司正在寻找能够更早提醒司机们的主动的方法。

    现在,通过使用以微小的计算机芯片为基础的视频摄像头和车用软件,汽车厂商可能能最终解决这个技术迷局了,并在下个十年生产出这样的系统。

    在这些公司中,日本的电装(Denso)公司在北美国际汽车展(底特律)上作为概念演示展出了它的吹气(air-puffing)方向盘震动系统。德国的西门子 VDO(交通标志识别技术)正在发展一种用于商用卡车车队的系统。这种系统将可以监视卡车司机眼睛的第一个瞌睡的信号,然后发出警告。

    汽车供应商博世的发言人认为眼皮的悸动并不是唯一的检测选项。博世正在开发一种检测睡眠开始时典型的方向盘和踏板偏离情况的系统。包括I.B.M.的很多公司正在研究其它各种系统。

    一些小的厂商,比如两家来自匹兹堡的AssistWare技术公司和Attention技术公司正在配件市场出售基于相机的系统,它们的研究都依靠卡内基.梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon University)。

    电装公司北美高级副总裁Douglas Patton说,任何系统的关键不是它发出警告的方式,而是这种系统使司机摆脱瞌睡的方法。

 

Keeping Tired Drivers Alert, With No Snooze Button

PREVENTING A NIGHTMARE Denso showed its drowsy-driver monitoring system at the Detroit auto show.

By TIM MORAN

Published: March 11, 2007

AFTER a tough week at the office, the highway stretches ahead of you. The car is warm and the engine hums. Your eyelids slowly close.

And then, there’s a sudden puff of air on the back of your neck. The steering wheel vibrates in your hands and a buzzer sounds. Your car is waking you.

The car has been watching your face and, through the steering wheel, feeling your pulse. It knew you were about to fall asleep.

Indeed, falling asleep at the wheel is not uncommon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a 2002 report that an estimated 1,500 people a year were killed and 71,000 injured in more than 100,000 crashes caused by fatigue. The study covered the 1989-92 period, the latest for which numbers were available.

Think of it this way: Drivers often close their eyes for up to three seconds at a time as drowsiness approaches. At 70 miles an hour, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

“This whole issue is sort of a symptom; people are busier than they ever have been, they spend more time on the roads, they’re struggling to keep up, they spend more time behind the wheel and they’re exhausted,” said Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, based in Washington.

Ksenia Kozak, a Ford biomechanics engineer with expertise in the way people connect to technology, said we all might nod off to some extent when we’re driving long distances. The cause is something most of us do: shifting our internal clocks by working extended schedules that violate the day-night cycle, shorting ourselves on sleep and undertaking critical tasks like driving at a time when the body just wants to snooze.

At Ford, Dr. Kozak led a study last year of sleep-stressed drivers in a simulated Volvo in the Virttex (Virtual Test Track Experiment) simulator. The drivers, deprived of sleep for 23 hours, drove for 3 hours.

Dr. Kozak’s team found it possible to cut incidences of lane wandering in half by giving drivers an alert when the car was about to stray. She said the best warning was one that vibrated the steering wheel while also turning it slightly in the correct direction.

Interviewing the drivers, Dr. Kozak said she found that most of them were honest about how drowsy they felt at various times, but not very accurate about how they were performing. Sleepy drivers characteristically overestimated their alertness and abilities, she said.

Automakers and traffic safety experts have long sought a cure for the drowsy driver, using both low- and high-tech systems. The problem has been that low-end technology, like a wearable device connected by wires that would sound a buzzer when a driver’s head flopped forward, was cumbersome and ineffective, while high-tech systems like one that used infrared beams to measure head-nodding were too complex and pricey. The solution has been physical, installing rumble strips and marking lanes and center lines using raised “Botts Dots” to give a thumping-tire warning, a potential last-chance reminder. These passive measures have reduced crashes caused by cars wandering off the road by 20 to 50 percent, according to the Federal Highway Administration, but technology companies are looking to actively warn drivers even earlier.

Today, with tiny computer-chip-based video cameras and in-car software, automotive suppliers may finally have the technology riddle solved to create systems that could be produced in the next decade.

Among them, the Denso Corporation of Japan showed its air-puffing, wheel-vibrating system as a concept display during the Detroit auto show. Siemens VDO of Germany has been developing a system meant initially for commercial truck fleets that would watch truckers’ eyes for the first signs of sleepiness, then issue a warning.

Eyelid flutter is not the only detection option, said a spokesman for Bosch, the automotive supplier. It has been developing a system that monitors the steering wheel and pedals for lapses typical of the onset of sleep. Other companies, including I.B.M., are working on variations of the systems.

Some smaller manufacturers, like AssistWare Technology and Attention Technologies, both of Pittsburgh and both building on research from Carnegie Mellon University, are selling aftermarket camera-based systems.

Douglas Patton, senior vice president for Denso in North America, said the key to any system was not so much the type of warning it gave as the way the system caught a driver drifting off.

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