There are more than 3.5 million truckers on the roads in the US according to report in 2013. The trucking industry in the US had around $650 billion in revenue and is expected to grow 21% in the next ten years. Trucking, next to trains, dominates the commercial transportation industry.
Driving all those long haul trucks carrying anything from grains, minerals, fuel, clothes, fruit or christmas trees, are humans who on average have around 500,000 truck crashes each year costing around $60K per accident or $30 billion annually. Most fleets are self-insured, making crashes the single biggest expense to the trucking industry. Many of these crashes are attributable to preventable actions including fatigue and speed.
A new smart headset, called Co-Pilot, is designed to alert truck drivers in real time if they’re falling asleep. The device has 13 sensors mounted on the headset that gather real-time date while the driver is in motion. Along with 3D accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, inertia, temperature, carbon monoxide, plus contextual sensors from the phone including phone and texting behaviors, the device is designed to alert the driver for any change in behavior that indicates fatigue.
Co-Pilot follows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) mandatory mirror-check guideline for truck drivers to check their mirrors every five to eight seconds. The system issues early-warning alerts at the onset of driver fatigue by sensing declining activity. The device takes into account ratios such as right to left mirror checks and the inevitable head-bob.
The device is considered a hearable since it provides actionable information via speech directly to the driver. And hearable technology is expected to be a $5 billion market by 2018 according to Nick Hunn, founder, Wifore Consulting. In 2015, funding nearly tripled for hearables going from $12.6 million in 2014 to $31.2 million in 2015.