Automotive App of the Week: Anti Sleep Pilot

Automotive App of the Week: Anti Sleep Pilot

According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, drivers usually underestimate how drowsy they really are, and men are twice as likely to fall asleep behind the wheel as women. And you don't need a study to tell you that the longer you drive tired the greater the chance that you'll experience reduced alertness and delayed reaction times — and crash as a result.

If you log long hours on asphalt driving alone or at night, the Anti Sleep Pilot (ASP) app for the iPhone and iPad could be well worth the $20 download to keep you awake — and alive — behind the wheel. Developed over the last four years in collaboration with sleep scientists, the app uses a patented algorithm to track real-time fatigue level based on 26 parameters such as driving duration, time of day and reaction times. The app then recommends preventive breaks and administers alertness tests before fatigue levels leave you and your car wrapped around a tree.

Here's how it works.

First, you customize the ASP app by completing a personal-risk profile, which asks you a series of questions about your age, sex, BMI, the hours per week you work and sleep at night. The app uses the iPhone or iPad's GPS and accelerometer to monitor your driving by automatically detecting all movement and displaying the results. Based on these inputs, ASP recommends breaks before your fatigue level becomes critical.

The app uses both audible and visual signals to let you know when it's time to take a break as well as when it's safe to continue driving. It also helps you stay focused on the road with simple alertness tasks given at 10- to 25-minute intervals, depending on your risk profile and fatigue status. Your reaction time is registered when you first touch ASP. Then the app periodically checks your reaction times and includes these in the calculation of your fatigue level.

It's recommended that you connect the iPhone or iPad to the car's power supply to avoid draining the device's battery before your body's battery is drained. We also found that the performance of the application can be influenced by the number of apps running in the background. So shut down other apps prior to using Anti Sleep Pilot — and quit playing Angry Birds to keep you awake.

And don't pay so much attention to the ASP's alertness tasks that you crash by becoming distracted.

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