Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Ding-Yu Fei


In the human control of motor vehicles, there are situations regularly encountered wherein the vehicle operator becomes drowsy and fatigued due to the influence of long work days, long driving hours, or low amounts of sleep. Although various methods are currently proposed to detect drowsiness in the operator, they are either obtrusive, expensive, or otherwise impractical. The method of drowsy driving detection through the collection of Steering Wheel Movement (SWM) signals has become an important measure as it lends itself to accurate, effective, and cost-effective drowsiness detection. In this dissertation, novel technologies for drowsiness detection using Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) are investigated and described. IMUs are an umbrella group of kinetic sensors (including accelerometers and gyroscopes) which transduce physical motions into data. Driving performances were recorded using IMUs as the primary sensors, and the resulting data were used by artificial intelligence algorithms, specifically Support Vector Machines (SVMs) to determine whether or not the individual was still fit to operate a motor vehicle. Results demonstrated high accuracy of the method in classifying drowsiness. It was also shown that the use of a smartphone-based approach to IMU monitoring of drowsiness will result in the initiation of feedback mechanisms upon a positive detection of drowsiness. These feedback mechanisms are intended to notify the driver of their drowsy state, and to dissuade further driving which could lead to crashes and/or fatalities. The novel methods not only demonstrated the ability to qualitatively determine a drivers drowsy state, but they were also low-cost, easy to implement, and unobtrusive to drivers. The efficacy, ease of use, and ease of access to these methods could potentially eliminate many barriers to the implementation of the technologies. Ultimately, it is hoped that these findings will help enhance traveler safety and prevent deaths and injuries to users.


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