A smart steering wheel taking shape from KJR brains

  • Andrew Hammond
  • 7 September 2018

At KJR, we encourage and celebrate members of our Collective who are exploring ideas and opportunities outside of their day-to-day remit. Andrew Hammond, KJR ACT General Manager, and team lead of Augmented Intelligence shares the journey so far of winning the recent Australian Trucking Association fatiqueHACK in Canberra and subsequently bringing their idea to reduce fatigue related incidents to life.

What’s a smart steering wheel?

The smart steering wheel is a potential solution to monitor, predict and prevent fatigue for truck drivers who travel extremely long routes, day and night, across the nation. It is designed with embedded ECG monitors that communicate with the driver through a Navman device, suggesting rest stops in real time.

An update from Andrew

It’s hard to believe that the fatigueHACK was a few months ago now, it feels like only last Friday when we walked up on stage for the first time to present our smart steering wheel idea. So much as happened since then and I’ve said it many times, “I think the hackathon was the easy part!”. 

Since finishing the hackathon, team Augmented Intelligence has literally “grabbed the truck by the wheel” and set about taking the idea we formulated and making it a reality. Our activities have been multi-facetted, looking to evolve both the prototype and our understanding of the trucking industry.

On the prototype front, we’ve procured a Kenworth truck steering wheel, retiring the demo wheel we’d used during the pitches. We’ve also grabbed the latest ECG monitoring system from our partners at AliveCor and started to construct a working prototype. KJR founder and chairman, Kelvin Ross, is leading the prototype development and has installed the first version into his Tesla!

The prototype maybe a little rough around the edges, but we’ve been able to test several of the assumptions we had made during the hackathon, with positive results. The prototype was able to collect the ECG’s from Kelvin while he was driving around with enough clarity to be feed into our predictive model. 

Most recently we started exploring the practicality of only having the sensor in the 10 and 2 position on the steering wheel are working towards a far more realistic capture of driver hand positioning. I spoke to Big Rigs more about these developments – read it here.

Over the coming months we’ll continue create, test and refine our prototypes; and with this in mind, we’re looking for industry partners to come on the journey with us. Our desire is for the industry partner(s) to enable, assist and guide us as we continually build, test and refine the smart steering wheel technology. Our desire is to be running a Proof of Concept in late 2018 across a fleet of up to 20 trucks.

Watch Andrew talk about next steps in this video.

For more info, email andrew@augmented-intelligence.com.au

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