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December 27, 2007

Volvo Invests in Seeing Machine's Special Technology

By Jayashree Adkoli, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Volvo Technology Transfer is investing in Seeing Machines, which has a technology developed by an Australian company that detects and warns vehicle drivers in the event of tiredness.

Lack of attention is one of the leading cause for accidents, studies show. Accidents are a combination of the human factor, vehicle problems and/or the traffic environment, in which the human factor accounts for 90% of accidents, shows Volvo Group's accident investigations and general traffic safety research.

New research conducted at the Virginia Tech Transport Institute demonstrates that inattentiveness due to tiredness or distraction is the single largest and most significant cause of accidents.

Seeing Machine, an award winning Technology Company, focuses on designing vision-based human machine interfaces. It has evolved from number of research projects which were conducted at Australian National University (ANU) between 1997 and 2000.

The company has a special technology to its credit. This computerized technology can track and follow head and eye movements and facial expressions. This technology can be applied mainly for vehicle safety and also for products within areas which include medical diagnosing, simulation, marketing and games.

When incorporated in the vehicle, it includes a small camera that automatically detects signs of driver tiredness and distraction. The program processes the information from images and measures the position of the head and rotation, eye movements and eyelid behavior. Depending upon the measurements registered, how the eyes open and close and should the driver close his/her eyes, the degree of tiredness in the driver is monitored and registered. Depending upon head and eye movements, distraction and work load are measured.

Stig Fagerstahl at Volvo Technology Transfer, who is responsible for investing in Seeing Machines, said in a press release: “We hope that this technology will reduce the number of accidents on our roads and become an important feature in safety efforts at vehicle manufacturers."

Volvo Technology Transfer AB is part of the Volvo Group. It mainly focuses on developing and supporting new business that are relevant to the Volvo Group and  to invest on companies and projects that are technology and commercially attractive.


Jayashree Adkoli is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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