Las Vegas-based Caterpillar dealer Cashman Equipment has now made available a fatigue monitoring system for heavy equipment operators. Initially rolled out on Caterpillar mining trucks in 2013, the Seeing Machines Driver Safety System is currently installed on 4,000 mining trucks worldwide, and working on 20 mine sites in the United States. Designed to work with mining trucks because the problem of driver fatigue is so prevalent, DSS is currently available as an aftermarket product on Cashman’s equipment.
The system works by measuring operator eye and eyelid behavior for fatigue symptoms, and issues alerts in the event of a “micro-sleep,” which is a period of light sleep typically lasting up to 30 seconds. “With this system in place, we have seen an average 80 percent reduction in fatigue and distraction events,” says Russ Armbrust, vice president for business development, Seeing Machines Limited.
The system is camera-based, and therefore does not require the driver to wear any special equipment, which could be either uncomfortable or distracting.
Cashman’s general manager for equipment solutions, David R. Griffin, says the dealership has received positive feedback on their customers who are using DSS. Although Griffin did not share the cost of the system, he says comparing the total cost of machine ownership with the value DSS brings to the site makes purchasing the system a smart decision. “Upfront purchase price, installation cost and on-going monitoring costs are relatively insignificant and easily justified,” Griffin says.
Although the alliance with Caterpillar was to integrate Seeing Machines technology into Cat MineStar System mine management functions, Griffin notes the technology promotes safety across equipment types and in a range of applications.
“DSS can be installed on any heavy equipment where there is a desire to continuously monitor and manage operator fatigue and distraction,” he says. “And, DSS can be installed on mobile equipment in non-production mining applications such as water trucks, light vehicles used in the sector and more.”