Caterpillar, a brand name best known for their heavy machinery and equipment, has introduced the use of facial recognition technology for the trucks that belong to the mining industry.
These days, mining is among the largest industries that are involved in commercial transport, wherein you will see enormous trucks that are several times taller than the height of an ordinary person. These trucks are being used by the mining companies for hauling massive amounts of earth and rocks. Due to the immense sizes of these trucks that usually have tires that are as huge as 12 feet, these can be extremely dangerous pieces of machinery for the drivers to control and operate.
It is important for the drivers of these haul trucks to have complete concentration and focus on their task at hand during their operation since even the smallest mistake can accidentally put their lives in danger as well as the lives of the other workers within the mine sites. However, round the clock operation of the mine sites makes driver fatigue as a very real and crucial problem and this is where the latest facial recognition technology can come in handy.
The company’s consultancy branch, Caterpillar Safety Services, has teamed up with Seeing Machines, a tech company, with the goal of deploying the said technology in the massive trucks to facilitate detection of fatigue among the drivers.
This software that is installed in the heavy duty trucks make use of a camera, speaker as well as a light system for analyzing any sign of fatigue on the drivers, examples of which are closing of eyes and position of the head.
Every time a potential fatigue has been detected by the system in the driver, the software will then sound an alarm and forward the operator’s video clip to the 24-hour command center for sleep fatigue in the Illinois headquarters of Caterpillar. By this time, a safety advisor is going to contact the driver by radio and let the site manager aware of the incident, with a potential intervention to follow like allowing the driver to take the much needed rest.
Sal Angelone, the fatigue consultant of Caterpillar, said that this facial recognition system can scan for any sign of microsleep, or the involuntary and brief periods of unconsciousness that a tired driver usually experiences. However, the signals are being verified by the employees of Caterpillar at their designated sleep fatigue center.
Right now, Caterpillar is still at the early phase of implementation of this initiative and the company looks forward to expanding this further to cover around 38,000 trucks deployed in different parts of the globe.
The company is undoubtedly having a good head start into different types of technology while it continuously expands its business of heavy equipment. Last year, Caterpillar introduced Cat 540, a rugged mobile phone that has the capacity to withstand different conditions like high temperatures with shock and drop protection.