How Hyundai Mobis ‘brainwave technology’ can help tired drivers & make roads safer

A leading OEM supplier to Hyundai has developed a driver monitoring device that can reduce driver drowsiness and distracted driving. These findings, released in July 2021, come from a pilot project trial conducted by the Gyeonggi Research Institute on public bus drivers. So how does the Hyundai Mobis M.Brain work, and what could it do for road safety? 

About the Hyundai Mobis M.Brain device

The Hyundai Mobis M.Brain is an earpiece which reads brainwaves to measure a driver’s condition in real time and uses visual, sound and haptic inputs to recover his or her attention. Since we’re not all brain surgeons, let’s break that down a bit.

The M.Brain sits on the driver’s ear like a bluetooth headset and uses sensors to detect brainwaves. Then, it immediately and continuously captures and analyses brainwave data to determine if signs of distraction or fatigue are present. The M.Brain then uses software to prompt the driver, restoring focus and interrupting fatigue with various types of alerts through a tracking app.

The alerts are uniquely targeted to grab the driver’s attention in whatever state they’re in. The system has different types of alerts for sensory organs most impacted by driver fatigue and inattention. It can activate LED lights around the driver’s seat to target sight when eyes are showing signs of fatigue and vibrate the driver’s seat or pipe sound through headrest speakers to to awaken touch and hearing sensations in a distracted driver.

The M.Brain pilot study

In a statement released on 18 April this year, Hyundai Mobis gave details on the pilot study conducted on public bus drivers and the exciting findings that came out of it.

“As a result of the pilot application, it was demonstrated that drivers who put on M.Brain showed higher concentration levels and were less exposed to the dangers of being inattentive,” read the statement.

Some key findings include:

  • The M.Brain could restore driver’s attention in a third of the time it takes without it – down from an average of 6.7 seconds to 2.3 seconds.
  • Drivers using M.Brain were able to cut down inattentiveness after meals – the peak time for drowsiness – by 30%.
  • The M.Brain reduced inattentive driving by 20% on highways.

Looking ahead

Hyundai Mobis M.Brain distracted driving technologyIn the statement dated 18 April 2022, Hyundai Mobis went on to explain that it will expand the study to 300 buses by the end of this year. This will strengthen and build upon the potentially game-changing data already captured during the trial on how driver fatigue and inattention impact brainwaves while in real traffic conditions.

What could this mean for road safety? Well, Hyundai’s competitors are already developing similar technologies that use biosignals – like eye movements – to detect inattention, so watch this space. In Australia, we have something similar doling out fines for distracted driving all over our highways and main roads. It’s technology like this that catches drivers on their mobile phones and sees them hit with a $1,000 fine.

 

While fines hurt, the impact of driver monitoring is best for us all. Driver fatigue and distracted driving is a leading cause of fatal car crashes around the world and in Australia. If there’s a technology that can help to reduce road deaths by thousands every year, it’s time to get on board!