A smart seat belt to assist driver fatigue

Developed by a group of European researchers, HARKEN consists of a series of sensors that records vital signs to anticipate the first signs of driver fatigue.


The autonomous vehicles are a sample of what we want in the auto industry: more technology in future business models. However, manufacturers such as Nissan believe that the driver will not be replaced in the short term, and at this point, some developments seek to assist humans in the management of a car.

To prevent traffic accidents caused by fatigue or distraction of the driver, a group of researchers created HARKEN, a sensor system located in the safety belt and in the armchair of the car allowing proactively detect the first signs of fatigue.

“The change in heart rate and breathing are good indicators of the state of the driver. Given a modification of these values, HARKEN can issue warning prior to the appearance of the first symptoms of fatigue and tiredness”, said Jose Solace, Innovation Market Director, Institute of Valencia, Spain.

For the moment, HARKEN has only been tested in closed circuits, but its researchers plan to put it to the test in actual driving situations. Thus, the researchers hope that this system can not intrusive, once implemented in commercial vehicles, reducing the number of accidents caused by distraction or fatigue behind the wheel, estimated at 1.2 million incidents with 38,000 killed in 2008 in Europe.