Driver mental fatigue leads to thousands of traffic accidents. The increasing quality and availability of low-cost electroencephalogram (EEG) systems offer possibilities for practical fatigue monitoring. However, non-data-driven methods, designed for practical, complex situations, usually rely on handcrafted data statistics of EEG signals. To reduce human involvement, we introduce a data-driven methodology for online mental fatigue detection: self-weight ordinal regression (SWORE). Reaction time (RT), referring to the length of time people take to react to an emergency, is widely considered an objective behavioral measure for mental fatigue state. Since regression methods are sensitive to extreme RTs, we propose an indirect RT estimation based on preferences to explore the relationship between EEG and RT, which generalizes to any scenario when an objective fatigue indicator is available. In particular, SWORE evaluates the noisy EEG signals from multiple channels in terms of two states: shaking state and steady state. Modeling the shaking state can discriminate the reliable channels from the uninformative ones, while modeling the steady state can suppress the task-nonrelevant fluctuation within each channel. In addition, an online generalized Bayesian moment matching (online GBMM) algorithm is proposed to online-calibrate SWORE efficiently per participant. Experimental results with 40 participants show that SWORE can maximally achieve consistent with RT, demonstrating the feasibility and adaptability of our proposed framework in practical mental fatigue estimation.

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