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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

May 8, 2009
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830
Professor Xun Yu, UMD Mechanical & Industrial Engineering 218 726-8415

UMD Student Design Team Selected
for International Technology Design Competition
in Germany
June 18

Student Design is Driver Drowsiness Detection System

A UMD student design team has been selected as one of three winners in the North America Region (including USA and Canada) in the 3rd Collegiate Student Safety Technology Design Competition. The team will represent North America at the International Competition in the 21st International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles on June 18 2009 in Stuttgart, Germany.

The competition is sponsored by The United States Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The goal of the competition is to give young scholars around the world an exciting opportunity to design, build, and demonstrate a potentially cost effective conceptual scale model of a vehicle safety technology.

The UMD team consists of Shan Hu, a Master Graduate Student originally from Guilin, China, and Ryan Bowlds, a Senior Mechanical Engineering Major undergraduate student from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The team is advised by Dr. Xun Yu, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMD.

The UMD team is designing a non-intrusive driver drowsiness detection system to reduce drowsiness-caused accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver’s drowsiness is one of the major causes of serious traffic accidents. There are about 100,000 crashes caused by drowsy drivers every year in US, which results in about 1,544 fatalities and 71,000 nonfatal injuries, and $12.5 billion dollars in damages annually.

In the UMD team’s design, sensors are implemented on the steering wheel to detect the drivers’ heart beat signal and a computer algorithm is developed to analyze the heart rate variability, from which the driver’s waking/sleepiness stages could be detected. Initial lab tests have proven the feasibility of detecting driver drowsiness using such a system. However, significant development remains before the product can be taken to market. Part of this development includes finding personalized heart rate variability patterns and designing the drowsiness detection criterion.

The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is one of four engineering departments in the UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering. The department currently has approximately 400 students.

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