In mines, (and Vegas!) alertness matters

Picture the scene. You’re tired, distracted and unable to concentrate. It’s been a while since you’ve slept well. You know you need to focus but your eyes begin to dim …

Depending on your situation, what happens next varies dramatically. If you happen to be in Las Vegas, attending Hexagon’s annual digital solutions conference, HxGN LIVE 2019, the outcome could be mildly embarrassing: you’re caught nodding off during lunch or worse, during a track party in The Zone.

Vegas can do that to you.

Alternatively, if you’re behind the wheel of a bus transporting your co-workers to the pit along a winding, monotonous highway – the same highway you drive every day – in the pouring rain, the consequences of that momentary nap could be fatal: for you and your colleagues.

Driving long, familiar hours can do that to you.

This week at HxGN LIVE in Las Vegas, before more than 3,000 industry professionals, business leaders, media and influencers, Hexagon’s Mining division launched HxGN MineProtect Operator Alertness System Light Vehicle (OAS-LV). It’s a long name for a product that will save lives.

OAS-LV is a fatigue and distraction detection unit that continuously monitors operator alertness inside the cab of light vehicles, buses and semi-trucks. Issuing an audible warning, it protects light-vehicle operators from distraction and falling asleep at the wheel, preventing crashes or other fatigue-related incidents. It’s based on the same proven technology used in its big brother, HxGN MineProtect Operator Alertness System Heavy Vehicle (OAS-HV), which protects operators of haul trucks.

It features a web platform to continuously assess in real time the fatigue and distraction risks of individual operators and the complete fleet, allowing intervention, if necessary. 

OAS-LV continuously monitors operator alertness inside the cab of light vehicles, buses and semi-trucks.

“The solution’s in-cab device is easy to install and scans the operator’s face to detect any sign of fatigue or distraction, such as a microsleep,” reported Mining Magazine. “A machine-learning algorithm leverages this facial-feature analysis data to determine whether or not an alert should be triggered. OAS-LV works in both light and dark conditions, and through prescription glasses and/or sunglasses.”

Hexagon President and CEO, Ola Rollén added context to this week’s launch: “Operator fatigue and distraction are recurring hazards in mining and other industries,” said Rollen. “OAS-LV is a valuable integration to our market-leading MineProtect safety portfolio and further proof that Hexagon — like its customers — is serious about safety.”

There’s something fitting about unveiling a product for an industry that never sleeps in the city that never sleeps. If you’re visiting Vegas with its dizzying array of distractions, fatigue may eventually be your companion. For that, there’s coffee or the pool.

For drivers working in the mining industry, tiredness is a matter of when, not if. For that, there’s OAS from Hexagon: Serious about safety.

HxGN MineProtect Operator Alertness System Light Vehicle, a long name for a product that will save lives.

Neville Judd is Communications Director for Hexagon’s Mining division. Neville was a journalist for 25 years before joining Hexagon in 2010 with a definitive brief: Make mining technology sound sexy. Hexagon helps mines everywhere to lower costs, improve safety and increase productivity. Who wouldn’t find that sexy?

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