Driving drowsiness detection using spectral signatures of EEG-based neurophysiology

Saad Arif, Saba Munawar, Hashim Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Drowsy driving is a significant factor causing dire road crashes and casualties around the world. Detecting it earlier and more effectively can significantly reduce the lethal aftereffects and increase road safety. As physiological conditions originate from the human brain, so neurophysiological signatures in drowsy and alert states may be investigated for this purpose. In this preface, A passive brain-computer interface (pBCI) scheme using multichannel electroencephalography (EEG) brain signals is developed for spatially localized and accurate detection of human drowsiness during driving tasks. Methods: This pBCI modality acquired electrophysiological patterns of 12 healthy subjects from the prefrontal (PFC), frontal (FC), and occipital cortices (OC) of the brain. Neurological states are recorded using six EEG channels spread over the right and left hemispheres in the PFC, FC, and OC of the sleep-deprived subjects during simulated driving tasks. In post-hoc analysis, spectral signatures of the δ, θ, α, and β rhythms are extracted in terms of spectral band powers and their ratios with a temporal correlation over the complete span of the experiment. Minimum redundancy maximum relevance, Chi-square, and ReliefF feature selection methods are used and aggregated with a Z-score based approach for global feature ranking. The extracted drowsiness attributes are classified using decision trees, discriminant analysis, logistic regression, naïve Bayes, support vector machines, k-nearest neighbors, and ensemble classifiers. The binary classification results are reported with confusion matrix-based performance assessment metrics. Results: In inter-classifier comparison, the optimized ensemble model achieved the best results of drowsiness classification with 85.6% accuracy and precision, 89.7% recall, 87.6% F 1-score, 80% specificity, 70.3% Matthews correlation coefficient, 70.2% Cohen's kappa score, and 91% area under the receiver operating characteristic curve with 76-ms execution time. In inter-channel comparison, the best results were obtained at the F8 electrode position in the right FC of the brain. The significance of all the results was validated with a p-value of less than 0.05 using statistical hypothesis testing methods. Conclusions: The proposed scheme has achieved better results for driving drowsiness detection with the accomplishment of multiple objectives. The predictor importance approach has reduced the feature extraction cost and computational complexity is minimized with the use of conventional machine learning classifiers resulting in low-cost hardware and software requirements. The channel selection approach has spatially localized the most promising brain region for drowsiness detection with only a single EEG channel (F8) which reduces the physical intrusiveness in normal driving operation. This pBCI scheme has a good potential for practical applications requiring earlier, more accurate, and less disruptive drowsiness detection using the spectral information of EEG biosignals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153268
Number of pages23
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue number2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 30 2023


  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Brain–computer interface
  • Spectral Features
  • Drowsiness Detection
  • Feature Selection
  • Supervised learning
  • Neurophysiology
  • Channel Selection


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