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Improving transport safety by land and air

  • 13 July, 2005 12:59

<p>In the wake of a warning from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority that
fatigue is a serious risk in air operations, Australian software
developer Forge Group is partnering with researchers at the University
of Technology, Sydney to design a centralised safety monitoring system
for the aviation and heavy transport industries.</p>
<p>Backed by Federal Government research funding, Forge and UTS will
develop an intelligent database system that will enable real-time
monitoring of the alertness, stress levels and decision making of pilots
and drivers, along with the condition of their working environments,
across a whole fleet of aircraft or heavy vehicles.</p>
<p>Lead UTS researcher Dr Sara Lal is an internationally recognised expert
in the area of driver fatigue and transport safety and her work is
already contributing to the development of vigilance monitoring for the
<p>The new three-year project, called SmartData, will produce a prototype
application for the centralised monitoring of fluctuations in operator
activity and performance, along with information on vehicle movement,
vibration and cabin temperature.</p>
<p>Dr Lal said the Civil Aviation Safety Authority had recently called for
special strategies to combat fatigue, which had been frequently
identified as a contributing factor to aircraft accidents.</p>
<p>"CASA says pilots are susceptible both to acute fatigue caused by
intense mental or physical activity and chronic fatigue caused by the
need for shift work," Dr Lal said. "Similar problems in the road
transport industry are already well known."</p>
<p>"SmartData will have the capabilities of detecting and warning of
potentially hazardous changes in operator environment and dips in human
performance and so reduce the likelihood of accident and error."</p>
<p>Forge Group CEO and Managing Director of Forge Research, Peter Rossiter,
said the SmartData project was a strategic opportunity to apply publicly
beneficial research in commercial systems.</p>
<p>"Our industry background and experience in developing software products
will be important in meeting the challenges of taking this concept to a
huge worldwide market in the transport industries.</p>
<p>"We are dedicated to seeing this research succeed and we will be
supporting one of our senior engineers, Diarmuid Kavanagh, under an
Australian Postgraduate Award, to attain his PhD over the next three
years while working with our Forge team and Dr Lal."</p>
<p>The project is supported by nearly $380,000 in government and industry
funding under the Australian Research Council's Linkage Projects scheme.</p>
<p>Further Information:
Dr Sara Lal, (02) 9514 1592, 0424 819 270
Leila Henderson for Forge Group, 0400 522 885</p>
Terry Clinton
Media Officer, Media Branch
Marketing and Communication Unit
University of Technology, Sydney
PO Box 123 Broadway
NSW 2007 Australia
Tel +61 2 9514 1623 Fax +61 2 9514 1616
Mob 0419 293 261
UTS Experts: online at
U: magazine online at</p>

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