Harken Seat Belt Sensor Could Eliminate Fatigue-Related Accidents

The Harken seat belt sensor has targeted drowsy driving for demolition.

Yes, a team of researchers has developed a new non-invasive sensor technology designed to monitor your breathing patterns and heart rate. The reason for this: As the body becomes fatigued, it starts to produce changes in both of these areas rather quickly.

Harken, or “heart and respiration in-car embedded non-intrusive sensors,” picks up on this in time to step in and warn you of the trouble ahead via vibrations.

While we’ve called Harken a seat belt sensor, that is, in reality, only one third of it. There is also a single processing unit and a seat sensor. These three items work together to stamp out drowsy driving.

According to Mashable, Harken has undergone successful early testing and is about to head out onto the roadways for real-world traffic situations.

More from the report:

“The variation in heart and respiratory rate are good indicators of the state of the driver as they are related to fatigue,” said Jose Solaz, IBV’s director of innovation markets in automobile and mass transportation, in a statement. “So when people go into a state of fatigue or drowsiness, modifications appear in their breathing and heart rate; Harken can monitor those variables when people go into a state of fatigue or drowsiness, modifications appear in their breathing and heart rate; Harken can monitor those variables and therefore warn the driver before the onset of symptoms of fatigue.”

Of course, none of this will be necessary once self-driving cars become the standard but, based on the current pace of development, our robot chauffeurs may still be a long way off. So, in the meantime, a safety system like Harken could end up saving lives.

Now that successful closed track testing has been completed, the research team plans on testing the system in real world traffic conditions soon.

After that, the aim is to get Harken into the commercial market in the near future, however, no firm launch date has been set.

In real numbers, the “saving lives” part of Mashable‘s prediction translates to around 40,000 per year in the EU alone.

EU researchers behind the seat belt sensor also note that there are 1.5 million people involved in car accidents each year, and that this leads to a massive cost of 100 billion euros (approximately $132 billion) in social, medical, and human costs.

Would you utilize the Harken seat belt sensor if it was made available in the U.S.?