Drowsy Driver Detection

Unmet Need: Effective prediction of loss of driver alertness

In the U.S., falling asleep at the wheel is believed to cause at least 100,000 crashes annually.  As many as twenty eight percent of polled American drivers have admitted to nodding off at the wheel at least once. Various techniques, which typically rely upon monitoring lane departure, large lateral deviations within a lane, etc., have been studied.  However, no consensus is known regarding which metric or a combination of metrics is a more reliable indicator of driver alertness than other metrics.

The Technology: Recording steering position and sensing any variability

Researchers at WSU have developed monitoring systems, devices, and associated methods based on steering variability and/or lane variability. The method includes recording a steering position with a sensor and transmitting it to a processor, which eventually detects a steering/lane variability based on the pre-recorded position. This leads to an accurate estimation of driver alertness.


•       Automobile industry


•       Relies on already recorded steering position information thus provides accurate detection of any variability and estimation of loss of alertness.

Patent Information

Issued US Application # 8,676,444


Learn More

Karin Biggs
Technology Licensing Associate
Washington State University
(509) 335-3553
Reference No: 1160-OIPA-OC


Hans Van Dongen
Pia Forsman

Key Words

Computer Hardware/Software