Clean Sky project leverages AI to monitor pilot drowsiness

February 25, 2019 //By Julien Happich
Clean Sky project leverages AI to monitor pilot drowsiness
Coordinated by Swiss R&D center CSEM SA, European Clean Sky project HIPNOSIS aims to provide tools to evaluate pilots’ fatigue state. Under the guidance of Honeywell, project partners CSEM, SERMA Ingénierie and Innov+ will combine artificial intelligence (AI) with aeronautics expertise to enable next-generation pilot-aware cockpits.

The HIPNOSIS consortium aims to improve the evaluation of pilot fatigue using a specific vision-based system combined with a bio-physiological signal sensor. The safety kit consisting of smart cameras and wearable electronics will enable the real-time detection of signs of drowsiness, thus improving fatigue-risk management for long flights.  

Last November, an Australian pilot fell asleep while operating a passenger flight, overshooting its destination by 50 kilometers. A few months earlier, in the US, investigators found that an air disaster had been narrowly avoided in San Francisco the previous year. Once again, the danger had been brought about by a pilot’s lack of sleep. Human fatigue is a serious issue affecting the safety of the traveling public in all modes of transportation. Nearly 20 percent of the major US Transportation Safety Board investigations completed between 2001 and 2012 identified fatigue as a probable cause, contributing factor, or a finding. HIPNOSIS won the tender launched by the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking, a European research program dedicated to aeronautics.

“We will implement computer vision and machine learning algorithms in order to detect signs of drowsiness in pilots in real time”, explained Andrea Dunbar, head of Embedded Vision Systems at CSEM. These algorithms will be integrated into a specific camera developed by the French startup Innov+, which already commercializes similar solutions for the automotive industry.

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