Distracted driver detection set to reduce fleet maintenance

Australian authorities use speed cameras to monitor vehicle velocity and breathalysers to ensure motorists aren't driving drunk, but, currently there's no way to monitor a driver's focus once they're behind the wheel. 

Driver distraction causes 30 per cent of fatal accidents in SA.

Driver distraction is a serious problem around the country, with the Motor Accident Commission South Australia (SA) revealing it's responsible for almost a third (30 per cent) of all fatal accidents in the state. 

However, unless motorists using cell phones or exhibiting other dangerous behaviours are caught red-handed, fleet managers can't keep track of these trends. Thankfully, Mitsubishi's new technology is set to change that. 

Mitsubishi targets driver distraction

The range of smart technology systems in modern vehicles is continuing to grow, with Mitsubishi believing it has set a world first with its most recent invention. The Japanese marque's latest innovation concerns driver safety, and comes in the form of a machine-learning algorithm designed to detect symptoms of distracted driving. 

According to Mitsubishi, this latest development is the first that is able to detect the cognitive signals that represent tired or distracted motorists. Over time, the algorithm learns more about the vehicle it is installed in and its driver. 

If the algorithm records vehicle or driver information that isn't consistent with safe and attentive driving, it can provide a warning to the operator, hopefully preventing accidents and reducing fleet maintenance expenses in the long term. 

How else will detection technology keep drivers safe?

As many fleet managers are aware, there are a number of external risk factors that can put drivers and their vehicles in danger through no fault of their own. In Australia, which is known for its diverse wildlife, hitting animals at high speeds can pose significant threats to motorists and their cars or trucks. 

Kangaroos pose a danger to Australian motorists. Kangaroos pose a danger to Australian motorists.

Volvo has acknowledged these dangers with the first ever trial of kangaroo detection technology, a system that could become vital for Australian fleets. Citing National Roads and Motorists' Association data, the organisation revealed there are around 20,000 examples of these incidents per year, resulting in up to $75 million worth of insurance claims. 

The system is similar to Volvo's existing pedestrian detection technology, albeit refined to function at highway speeds and detect kangaroos. Volvo stated the system can prepare the brakes and act much faster than a human can, hopefully reducing the number of kangaroo collisions experienced around the country.