Denso wants to fight driver fatigue with a shot of cold air

A new system by the auto-parts maker uses cameras to detect driver drowsiness, and the air-conditioner to wake the driver up.

Bill Pugliano, Getty Images

If you struggle with late night driving, new technology from Denso may be your savior. The Japanese auto-parts manufacturer has developed an in-car ecosystem to battle crashes caused by fatigued drivers.

Announced earlier this month, it consists of the driver status monitor (DSM), an inward pointing camera system that uses facial recognition technology to recognise signs of drowsiness in the driver, and air-conditioning. If fatigue is detected, from indicators like lowering eyelids or a bobbing head, the system responds by blasting cool air to the base of the driver's neck.

The US' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 100,000 police-reported crashes being due to fatigue each year. It's estimated that around 20 percent of fatal crashes in Australia are caused by driver fatigue. In the UK, it's said to cause 20 percent of all crashes on the road.

The technology is being developed specifically for Japan, where many living in rural areas frequently make long drives through maintains. Denso does ship parts around the world though, so the feature coming elsewhere is a possibility.

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