Professor Cheung Yiu-ming demonstrates the fatigue driving detection and alarm system to alert a drowsy driver.


張曉明教授示範使用「駕駛人士疲勞檢測及警告系統」。

How a generic smartphone with the fatigue driving detection and alarm system installed captures facial features.


安裝了「駕駛人士疲勞檢測及警告系統」的手機可追蹤駕駛人士的臉部特徵。

Date: 12 Jun 2017 (Monday)

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HKBU award-winning invention detects and alerts sleepy drivers

浸大研發「駕駛人士疲勞檢測及警告系統」 提高道路安全 奪日內瓦國際發明展大獎

To reduce accidents caused by fatigue driving, HKBU Computer Science scholar Professor Cheung Yiu-ming and his team have developed a system that detects drowsy drivers and alerts them simply using a generic smartphone. This invention clinched two top prizes at the 45th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in April 2017. The research team has already submitted a patent application to the US for the system.

The new approach adopts a smartphone’s real-time video to track and analyse the facial features of a driver, in particular the changes in his eyelids and head position, which are prominent fatigue symptoms. With this system pre-installed in a generic smartphone, a driver just has to put it near the steering wheel with the front camera facing him in his normal driving position. When the camera captures features like drooping eyelids, drowsiness or even nodding off, an alarm is automatically set off. To ensure that the driver is awakened, the driver has to turn off the alarm either by voice or by hand.

Professor Cheung Yiu-ming said this method requires only a smartphone without any additional devices or sensors. It is cost-effective, simple to operate, portable, detects accurately, highly reliable, and supports online system updates. As the system can activate the rear camera of the smartphone, it can also be utilised as a normal driving recording system, as used by many drivers now.

Professor Cheung said that the results of fatigue driving should not be underestimated. According to US government statistics, fatigue driving accounts for 31% of road accidents involving heavy vehicles in the USA. An investigation in the US also found that economic losses caused by fatigue driving totalled US$3 billion per year.

He said the new system is suitable for all drivers, but especially for professional drivers and machinery workers who have long working hours. He added that the system may also interest corporations with a vehicle fleet, or insurance companies. There is no similar product currently available on the market, making it potentially applicable to act as a driver assistance system to enhance road safety as well as appealing to the consumer market.

Professor Cheung said that fatigue-driving detection systems are currently installed only in a few luxury models offered by car manufacturers. Those systems require additional devices and sensors installed in a vehicle, making them non-portable, expensive and difficult to fit system updates, thus not beneficial to general drivers.

The fatigue driving detection and alarm system developed by Professor Cheung won the Gold Medal with Distinction in the Computer Science Category and the Swiss Automobile Club Prize at the 45th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in April 2017.

浸大計算機科學系張曉明教授與團隊研發了一項「駕駛人士疲勞檢測及警告系統」,使用智能手機便能準確地偵測駕駛人士的疲勞狀態,可幫助減少因疲勞駕駛而導致的交通意外。該項發明於今年四月在第45屆日內瓦國際發明展上取得兩項大獎,浸大團隊已為整套系統申請美國專利。

新系統利用智能手機的實時影像,通過追蹤駕駛人士的臉部特徵,尤其是眼皮和頭部姿勢的變化,實時分析並有效偵測駕駛者是否已進入疲勞駕駛狀態。使用時,只需將安裝了檢測系統程式的智能手機的前置鏡頭放置在駕駛者前方,當系統偵測到駕駛者有上述的特徵變化,如眼皮慢慢垂下、眼睛開合收窄、頭部向前傾等情況,會自動響起警報,以提醒駕駛者。為能喚醒駕駛者,司機需用聲控或用手觸動系統才能解除警報。

張曉明教授表示,該項創新系統只需一個智能手機便可運作,無需額外裝置,成本低廉,使用方法簡單、便携性高、偵測準確、可靠,方便在線更新;而系統亦可同時控制前後鏡頭,可作行車記錄儀使用。

張教授說,疲勞駕駛絕對不能忽視,因為根據美國政府的統計,每年該國涉及重型車輛的意外中,超過三成是因為司機疲勞所致;而美國每年因疲勞駕駛而導致意外引發的經濟損失高達30億美元。

他說,新系統適合每一位駕駛人士使用,尤其是職業司機及需長時間操作儀器者,他相信擁有車隊的大機構、保險公司等也會對此系統感興趣。由於現時市場未有同類產品,所以新系統可作為車輛駕駛的輔助系統,不但能提高道路安全,亦具有非常大的市場潛力。

他指出,現時市面上只有小量豪華品牌的車輛預設類似的監測系統,但需在車內額外配置感應器和監測裝置,毫無便攜性,且費用昂貴,系統不易更新,一般駕駛人士難以受惠。

「駕駛人士疲勞檢測及警告系統」於今年四月在第45屆日內瓦國際發明展上取得電腦科學組別優異金獎和瑞士汽車會大獎。