New landmark study to reduce track crashes launched

A landmark study which aims to reduce heavy vehicle crashes in Australia and improve truck driver well-being has been launched today. It features the roll-out of a world-leading fatigue prevention and driver monitoring technology.

The new study, the Advanced Safe Truck Concept is an Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre Project, aims to reduce deaths from truck crashes by developing new technologies achieved through studying behaviour and understanding the impact of driver fatigue and distraction in particular. The partnership is headed by Seeing Machines and includes Monash University Accident  Research Centre (MUARC) and Ron Finemore Transport Services.

The $ 6.5 million study is the first of its kind linking in-cab driver monitoring technology with the external traffic and roadway in real-time. The program will be done in two phases and will build on the Seeing Machine’s Guardian technology platform that actively monitors for and alerts drivers to fatigue and distraction.

“We are so proud to be at the forefront of road safety here in Australia and excited to see our driver monitoring technology delivering safety solutions across all transport sectors globally,” said Seeing Machines Executive Chairman, Ken Kroeger.

Seeing Machines’ Scientific Officer and project leader, Dr. Michael Lenné says they now have the opportunity to drive clever product design in revolutionary ways to improve road safety.

“Furthermore, it’s very rewarding to see the Australian Government recognise both the technological innovation and the road safety impact of this project. It’s exciting to work with great partners on a project that will positively impact the heavy vehicle industry in Australia and around the world and consequently, the safety of all road users.”

Phase one of the project included testing of truck drivers in MUARC’s Advanced Driving Simulator, the first time a truck simulator has been used for research in Australia. Drivers are tested in a rested and a fatigued state so a better understanding of fatigue on truck safety can be achieved.

“We pride ourselves on translating evidence-based research into real-world solutions and by working alongside our industry partners and with the support of the federal government, this project has the capacity to prevent injuries and save lives,” said MUARC Director, Professor Judith Charlton.

Ron Finemore industry will fit its fleet of trucks with the same driver monitoring technology as part of the project’s Naturalistic Road Safety Study.

“By participating in this study we are helping to make Australian roads safer for not only our drivers but all users of our roads. At RFT we are committed to world’s best practice in driver and fleet safety. As end users, we have the opportunity to influence the technology so it best addresses the needs of the freight industry.”

MUARC’s head of Regulation and In-depth Crash Investigation Unit, Associate Professor Michael  Fitzharris the technology has the potential to save thousands of lives and prevent serious injuries.

“The type of technology deployed here has the potential to be applied across all vehicles, potentially saving thousands of lives and preventing countless serious injuries. By working in partnership with key stakeholders, the program represents a profound opportunity to demonstrate the value of combining in-vehicle driver monitoring with what is happening on the road, in real time. We would hope that this type of technology is fitted to all vehicles as standard equipment in the future.”

The full project is set to be completed by the end of 2019.

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