The European Project FitDrive, in which ITCL participates, will be presented on 3 May at the European Parliament at a working day in which the partners of an important project that seeks to minimise driving risks in professional drivers.
The meeting will take place in Brussels, promoted by the European Federation of Driving Schools (EFA). It will be attended by representatives of the partners in this project, which is part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme and has a budget of more than 3.4 million euros, with the participation of partners from Spain, Italy, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Ireland, France and Turkey.
The workshop will present an ambitious system, which is being developed within the framework of the project, and which will provide continuous monitoring of the driver’s psychophysical capabilities, alerting of possible anomalies that may occur. Thus, based on the use of AI, among others, the aim is to reduce driving risks in professional drivers with a new tool capable of monitoring and evaluating driving performance, cognitive load, physical fatigue and reaction time.
The system will also allow professional drivers to be in constant contact with their vehicle, and to warn through a simple conversation of abnormal behaviour that may interfere with the driving of their vehicle or others in the vicinity.
Once fully developed, the system will be deployed in commercial vehicles across Europe.
To reach this goal – and given that commercial vehicles cross many borders and inspections must be uniform within the European Union – standards will have to be defined and proposed to the European institutions, otherwise the results of the research will not have an effective impact.
In line with the new EU standardisation strategy [COM(2022) 31 final], the project will propose new standards that can enable the adoption of the system while respecting the rights of all users.
Reducing accident rates
Focusing on professional drivers – which can include professions such as lorry drivers, bus drivers and taxi drivers – ‘FitDrive’ focuses on the main factor in professional driver accidents: tiredness and fatigue. Thus, the project will identify different roles of professional drivers to analyse the causes that can affect their driving and their daily lives.
The results of several surveys around the world show that more than 50% of long-distance drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel at some point in their professional life.
The project will generate and validate a new tool to monitor and assess driving performance, cognitive load, physical fatigue and reaction time. The system will create neurophysiological models capable of detecting the appearance of an abnormal physical state in drivers, based on data obtained from IoT devices during work and driving activities, on-board intelligence and smart tachographs.
Artificial intelligence models will associate different types of abnormal behaviour in order to detect early signs of abnormal behaviour and provide early warning; and a cloud-based system will communicate to the driver, police patrols and intelligent transport systems (ITS) the information needed to improve road safety.
Drugs and alcohol also have the potential to negatively affect driving skills; the project will also develop screening methods to detect new drugs and reduce the time needed for testing.