A Novel Application of Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) as Vehicular Technologies for Drowsy Driving Detection via Steering Wheel Movement


Introduction: Vehicular technologies intended for the improvement of driver safety are especially critical today in the view of the thousands of deaths that occur annually due to drowsy driving. Current technologies include physiological methods like electroencephalography (EEG), behavioral methods including driver video monitoring, and vehicle measures which include lane and steering wheel tracking. These current technologies are impractical in their current implementations as they cannot readily be used outside of laboratory settings due to their requirements for intrusive electrodes, expensive cameras, and complex equipment. An earlier article demonstrated an effective method for wheel tracking using only an accelerometer; however the introduction of integrated gyroscopes and accelerometers has afforded further opportunities. Objective: This paper introduces a novel, low-cost, and easy to implement an approach to address this unmet problem. Method: Through the use of an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) combining a gyroscope and an accelerometer, measurements of steering wheel behavior were recorded in both simulator and real world driving while compared against a standard potentiometer. Results: The excellent agreement between potentiometer recorded angles and IMU estimated angles (R2 = 0.98, P < 0.001) suggests that the complicated installation of potentiometers in vehicle steering columns is no longer a necessary step for steering wheel monitoring. Conclusion: This paper presents an IMU based method for drowsy steering-wheel behavioral tracking which is cost-effective, easy to implement, and accurately estimates steering behaviors. The results suggest that this novel vehicle technology offers hope for improving road safety.

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Lawoyin, S. , Fei, D. and Bai, O. (2014) A Novel Application of Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) as Vehicular Technologies for Drowsy Driving Detection via Steering Wheel Movement. Open Journal of Safety Science and Technology, 4, 166-177. doi: 10.4236/ojsst.2014.44018.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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