Photo/IllutrationThe driver’s seat of a car equipped with drowsiness prediction features is shown for a demonstration in Osaka. (Yuka Kanemoto)

OSAKA--Drivers suffering from drowsiness behind the wheel could get a “wake-up call” from artificial intelligence-based technology developed by Panasonic Corp.

The technology could also be used to prevent people from falling asleep at places such as cram schools and offices, according to the electronics giant.

The AI system is designed to keep the driver awake without mounting a special device on their body.

In the event that the system has decided that the driver is feeling sleepy, it instructs them to take an emergency rest or blasts them with cold air from the air conditioner.

Panasonic officials said the technology analyzes the opening between the driver’s eyelids, the speed of his or her blinking and other data to measure a “level of drowsiness” even before drivers are aware that they are sleepy.

The prediction is made on a scale of five levels up to five to 30 minutes in advance.

Image recognition technologies are used to measure the opening between the driver’s eyelids and how it varies with time.

The AI system analyzes the data’s correlation with drowsiness on the basis of information on blinking behavior and facial expressions collected during past experiments,

It also employs a thermal image sensor, which uses technologies for air conditioners, to recognize the amount of heat loss from the driver’s body.

Panasonic officials expect that the system will be mounted on cars that have collision prevention and self-driving features.

They plan to begin supplying sample products to car makers, educational institutions and other potential customers in October.