An Australian company is developing machines that can wake up drowsy drivers who nod off at the wheel.

Seeing Machines Pty Ltd, which won a Eureka Science Prize on Tuesday for innovative technology, said the gadgetry may one day be installed in dashboards to keep watch over drivers with heavy eyelids.

The award came with a 10,000-dollar (5,500-US) cheque.

The Canberra-based company said the machine could be wired up to the radios in cars and blast drowsy drivers back to attention or open electric windows for a gush of cold air.

Company chief operations officer Glenn Dickins said his organisation was working with Volvo and other manufacturers to develop the technology for their cars and trucks.

Eureka Prizes are Australia’s premier science awards, backed by the national and state governments, educational institutions and private-sector companies.