Artificial intelligence to monitor pilot drowsiness

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A safety kit, comprising of smart cameras and wearable electronics, has been developed that will enable real-time detection of signs of drowsiness.

The kit, developed by the HIPNOSIS consortium, led by CSEM, aims to improve the evaluation of pilot fatigue by providing innovative monitoring tools - in this case, a specific vision-based system that has been combined with a bio-physiological signal sensor.

HIPNOSIS developed the kit in response to winning an EU tender, part of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking, a European research program dedicated to aeronautics.

According to Andrea Dunbar, head of Embedded Vision Systems at CSEM, the device will, "Implement computer vision and machine learning algorithms in order to detect signs of drowsiness in pilots in real time.”

These algorithms will be integrated into a specific camera developed by the French startup Innov+, which is already commercialising similar solutions for the automotive industry.

“CSEM will also use its know-how in the measurement of physiological parameters to develop a wearable sensor that monitors pilots before and during a flight,” Dunbar added. “The collected data will be fused with eye-gaze-related measures as well as head pose, observed by the vision system.”

French company SERMA Ingénierie will be responsible for integrating HIPNOSIS into a cockpit prototype for preliminary testing.

Honeywell Aerospace - a Clean Sky II Core Partner and a leader in aerospace and avionics solutions—will look to integrate this technology it into a pilot monitoring system.

“HIPNOSIS will deliver key enablers for the introduction of pilot monitoring and for turning this technology into aviation reality,” said Bohdan Blaha, project manager at Honeywell Aerospace. “HIPNOSIS provides the building blocks that are critical to successfully demonstrating the potential of this technology and its benefit to the aviation industry.”

The project is expected to be concluded by 2021.