S.A.M. The Safety Attention Monitor


Last term’s project at Chico State University hopes to reduce driver distraction by alerting you when it notices you aren’t paying attention (to the road!).

The team designed SAM using OpenCV to track your face in order to recognize when you aren’t watching the road. It alerts you through a variety of audible beeps and LED lights, and is programmed to only alert you after set time values — i.e. it’s not going to go off when you’re checking your blind spot, unless you’ve been checking it for over a certain length of time. It also has a silence button you can press for situations like looking around while you are parked.

The proof of concept device was built using a Raspberry Pi, the PiCam, and a breadboard to accommodate some manual controls, the buzzer, and LEDs. It also continuously records video of you on a 30 second loop, and in the event of an accident, it saves all the video — perhaps proving it was your fault. Can you imagine if all cars had this installed? On the plus side you wouldn’t have to argue with insurance companies — but if it really was your fault, well then you’re straight out of luck.

19 thoughts on “S.A.M. The Safety Attention Monitor

  1. Rather than a silence button for when your parked they should tap off the OBDII port and read the status of the transmission. If in Park have SAM disable it’s self.

  2. I’ve done such a thing before. Anything with OpenCV on a slow ARM processor is USELESS. So, so slow. I pin the blame on both the OpenCV guys and the processor manufacturers. They advertise their GPUs are the best yet release no way for anyone to program something on them. Useless. The OpenCV guys are some drunk russians who got hold of the code and begun working on a “If it compiles, it’s a good day” terms. The syntax is horrible, the functions barely work, the documentation is horrible, incomplete and at some points incorrect and outdated. Why did they even switch to C++? And now OpenCV has a dependency on the nvidia drivers… I give up. I’d rather reinvent the wheel.

  3. Instead of saving the video to flash which is too big brother and will burn out the flash put the buffer in ram so it’s lost on power up/down.
    That way the flash lasts longer and most of all big brother does not get another tool to spy on people with.

  4. The idea of the system (not the recording function) is already commercially available. It’s in my Focus. It knows when you spend more than a few seconds looking out the side window, or if you are tired and not paying attention or if you take both hands off the wheel (because the automatic lane keeping is switched on and you want to see how good it is!)

    1. I know an engineer that worked on the engine used in the Focus (among other vehicles). Of course he lives in Michigan. He told me, “You know why we called it a Focus? Because that is what you have to do when driving it.”

      Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    1. Funny thing, in CDL training they tell you to check mirrors, load, trailer, wheels, oil pressure, and air gauges once every few minutes. Those guys often only get raises every few million miles driven without an ‘incident’ (accident or vehicle breakage like a blown tire). The average driver only goes 240k in a lifetime and gets into four accidents. Something to think about. In those big trucks it isn’t just a glance, your head has to be turned completely sideways to see the other side of the cab and there are over a dozen readouts scattered across the dash. This thing would be going off constantly if placed in front of the best qualified drivers in the country.

  5. My wife’s Volkswagen Golf did what I didn’t dare to do recently. It basically told her she was driving badly by suggesting she stopped for a coffee. I believe that worked by monitoring where she was in the lane and detecting sudden adjustments when she drifted. According to the handbook it compares this sort of data with how you were driving earlier in the journey.

  6. some one is going to google “how to make sam” and have the F.B.I. busting down there door thinking they are trying to build a Surface to Air Missile. you might want to change the name

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.