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Satellite Gyroscopes Can Give Early Warnings Before Drivers Get Dangerously Tired

• Rebecca Boyle via PopSci.com

Mining is incredibly dangerous for lots of reasons, but simple fatigue is the worst--after long shifts operating heavy equipment, it’s easier to make a mistake. Sixty-five percent of mining accidents are caused by fatigue. The European Space Agency has a solution, using satellites and gyroscopes designed for space.

A new system designed with ESA’s help can detect tiny changes in the motion of mining trucks, which are gigantic and often operated during 12-hour shifts. Built by a spinoff called EstrellaSat, this new system uses gyroscopes designed for use in satellites, which can detect small changes in braking, steering and acceleration. By analyzing those changes, the system (and trained workers) can detect the early signs of fatigue, even before a driver is aware he’s getting sleepy.

Giant Mining Truck

 

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