By mid-2019 the National Road Transport Association expects it will be able to inform the proposed review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law for an overdue reform of fatigue laws it announced last week.
Results from current monitoring technology and how best to alert commercial vehicle operators are likely to become available by then as the industry body looks to accelerate the uptake of proven vehicle safety technologies.
Although the influence of fatigue as a factor in reported road crashes is still largely unknown current estimates, according to NatRoad, indicate that eight to 20 per cent of all crashes are fatigue-related.
In order to refine current fatigue monitoring systems to accurately predict fatigue events, further study is required of fatigue metrics like body responses, breath rate, posture and eye movement – if industry and government bodies are serious about achieving a vision of zero road deaths.
The Advanced Safe Truck Concept (ASTC) project, supported by the Cooperative Research Centre Projects funding scheme, will bring together technology, research and operational expertise to develop innovative driver state sensing concept for use in commercial vehicles.
The Australian Government Funded Cooperative Research Centre Programme Research is conducting data gathering and research for the project in collaboration with an ASTC consortium involving Seeing Machines and Monash University, among others.
Drivers are providing data to the Monash University Accident Research Centre from real world operational environments.
Ten trucks have been fitted with a new sensing platform where data has been collected over a six-month period. This is estimated to generate over 30,000 hours of real-world data that is critical for technology development.
“This is a significant research effort to develop enhanced technology to measure and predict driver states in real-time, using Seeing Machines’ driver monitoring technology as the core sensing means,” said NatRoad in an online statement.
“The aim is to link driver monitoring systems to events happening outside of the cab (forward-facing) and link this monitoring to other technologies available in heavy vehicles.”
“A further aspect is the ultimate aim of all heavy vehicles having in situ technology that records location so that it detects road conditions and important safety variables such as speed limits, lane widths, forward merging points, as well as inputs on congestion and incidents.”
“In some ways, these technologies all exist now, but are not linked.”