New device monitors facial movements to detect collision warning signs

12.00 | 17 August 2017 | | 5 comments

A new product has been launched in the UK which claims to be able to identify the signs of a potential road collision by monitoring a driver’s facial movements, and then alerting the driver before an incident occurs.

Manufactured in South Korea, the Vuemate DL330A (known as ‘Route Angel’) uses advanced camera technology to compare ‘normal driving conditions’ with predetermined parameters that indicate ‘compromised driving skills’.

Mounted on the dash, instrument pod or steering column, the device maps a driver’s face for five seconds when the ignition is turned on and stores it in the integral microprocessor.

Thereafter it monitors eye movement, head orientation and facial characteristics against ‘the map’ – sounding a warning alarm should one of the predetermined parameters be recognised.

The device picks up symptoms typical of a drowsy driver and detects any abnormal motions that deviate from ‘alert and forward-looking’ driving.

While the technology itself is already in use, the product’s UK distributor John Gibson says that unlike pre-existing factory fitted options, the Vuemate system is easily fitted without tools, wiring or drilling, and is portable from one vehicle to another.

He also says that stakeholders including RoSPA and PACTS have shown interest in the product, which is priced at £169.95.

Full details can be found by visiting the Route Angel website or by contacting John Gibson by email or on 07836774377.



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    Ah well, another gizmo to encourage people not to concentrate. There is little substitute for paying full attention and the Mk1 eyeball properly used. See thread

    Nottingham University Psychology Department apparently some years ago did research which showed that the more so called safety features added to a vehicle the more drivers tend to rely on them and not put so much (mental) effort into their driving. Some years ago this was featured in the BBC4 programme All In The Mind. So there is a plus effect on one side, but at least an equalising negative effect on the other.

    OK all this is ultimately leading to fully autonomous vehicles, but until that time, in this grey zone, additional ‘safety features’ can lead to less attentive and potentially more dangerous driving behaviours. I’ll stay with the Mk1 eyeball and keeping a wary eye out (sic!) for the next horror scenario about to jump out on me. Basic strategy is trust no one until they prove they can be trusted. It’s kept me safe for over 50 years, so I will stay with it. The knowledge and information about how to be safer is out there but if people can’t be bothered to go and get it (and only 2% show any interest) they have no one but themselves to blame if they get into a crash. But even gizmos won’t help them in the case of a serious crash – and it only needs to happen once to put them into a mortuary.

    Nigel ALBRIGHT
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    David thank you again for your comments, I do appreciate it because if the product won’t stand scrutiny, it’s not really worth its salt.

    Whenever anything new it is introduced it meets a with suspicion, criticism and sometimes fear. I remember the introduction of seat belts, they were a prime example, met with huge public resistance at the time, but today we look back at the number of lives saved, dreadful injuries avoided and would anyone today seriously disagree with the huge contribution they have made since introduction? My father bemoaned the demise of semaphore indicators as unsafe. Being in the industry I have heard criticism of radial tyres, laminated screens, disc brakes and numerous other innovations that over the years have saved countless lives but rejected by the cynics.

    To quote Oscar Wilde “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing”.

    Would a person pay £169.95 for a road safety related product, just to abuse it and endanger their life, some may but should they be driving at all with such an irresponsible outlook.

    Like satnav soon cars will have monitors as a factory fitted option Volvo, Mercedes and Hyundai have prototypes already, but they cannot be fitted to existing vehicles, experience tells me the price will be in four figures not £169.95 and of course you have the incidental expense of buying the car, and the new monitor system every time you change cars. The cost/ benefit analysis makes the Vuemate the greatest value, and what have you got to lose by choosing not to buy it-apart from everything. Thanks again. John

    John Gibson-North Yorkshire
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    John, thanks for explaining the thinking behind the technology. It is a great idea and could result in substantial benefits.

    However, I am a jaundiced, hard-bitten cynic who over a long time has observed how cunning some humans can be when it comes to using something for a purpose other than the one it was designed for. I hope I am wrong, and that your product is used only positively, but my suspicion is that some will use it in the manner which prompted my original post.

    David, Suffolk
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    Thank you David from Suffolk for taking the time and trouble to comment on the Vuemate item. The purpose of the Vuemate is not to keep the driver awake whilst they continue to drive, quite the opposite really it’s advance warning that they are showing signs of inattention, distraction or sleepiness BEFORE they are conscious of it, to alert them to the fact that they must take a break.

    By the time a driver becomes heavy eyed, feels tired and is trying to stay awake to concentrate, they are already an accident looking for somewhere to happen. Vuemate is NOT an alarm clock, to wake the driver from a snooze and keep them semi-conscious until they reach their destination it is a call for action now to take a break.

    As the motorway matrix signs point out the fact “TIREDNESS KILLS”, Vuemate is designed to not give it a chance. I hope this clarifies Vuemates function. John

    John Gibson MD Routeangel, North Yorkshire
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    My reservation with this is that it may encourage people to continue driving when they are tired in the belief that the technology will keep them from harm. Drowsiness is not something that suddenly comes on; a driver will probably know they are tired long before they start having micro-sleeps. That is the time to stop, have a nap, refresh oneself, have a coffee, etc., rather than ploughing on regardless while relying on a machine. I question the ability of most drivers to cope with an emergency when they have just been woken up, and that is what the tech might encourage.

    David, Suffolk
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