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Denso's latest driver status monitor can be mounted in multiple locations around the cab thanks to its small design and advanced facial recognition technology.

Denso bringing driver monitoring to commercial-vehicle market

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,440 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents in 2016—a 29% increase since 2009. Driver distraction and impairment were indicated as some of the leading factors for fatal crashes. Denso, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, has recognized the need of the commercial vehicle (CV) market to help prevent distracted and fatigued drivers with the release of a new driver status monitoring (DSM) system available for new and current vehicles.

“Denso is engaged in a project to support a Japanese government initiative to reduce the number of accidents in commercial vehicles,” Dave Cook, director of engineering at Denso, told Truck and Off-Highway Engineering. “We’ve focused on the detection of the driver to improve their safety on the road.”

The DSM system is designed to be able to be installed by truck owners, fleet operators, or vehicle manufacturers to improve driver safety. Denso started offering its first DSM in 2014 for the large-truck and bus market. In 2017, the company began collaborating with FotoNation to incorporate its facial recognition and neural network technologies to improve the driver status recognition. With this second-generation unit, Denso believes it has one of the most advanced and flexible units available on the market.

“One of the big advancements that we added was deep learning, which is a form of artificial intelligence,” Cook explained to TOHE. “That really allowed us to advance the performance of the product. For example, if the driver is in a shadow, a bright light, is wearing glasses, or whatever the real-world scenario, our system is robust enough to detect the driver’s face under all of these conditions.”

The driver monitor was initially released in Denso’s home market of Japan earlier this year, but it will launch in the North American market in 2019. The DSM was designed to be retrofittable to reach the greatest amount of trucks possible, improving safety for those currently on the road. Denso also has contracts with automotive and CV manufacturers for implementation into new vehicles starting in 2020. 

Measuring in at just over 4 in (106 mm) wide and 1 in (27 mm) tall, the camera can be mounted in a variety of locations in the vehicle cab. The more advanced recognition technology also allows for this flexibility in mounting positions. When the monitor detects a driver that is distracted or fatigued, a voice alert sounds to notify the operator. This alert will be configured to the language of the market or however the manufacturer desires. 

The camera connects to a main processing unit that is powered by either 12- or 24-V supply. In addition, the monitor can be linked with a new telematics device for commercial vehicles released by Denso this summer and a cloud-based digital tachograph manufactured by Fujitsu Limited. Continue reading »