Volvo is looking in-car safety technology directly in the eye… Literally.
In its ongoing goal to eliminate death and serious injury in its cars, Volvo is testing what could become the next evolution in driver awareness monitoring. The company said today that it is testing a system meant to distinguish between drivers who are drowsy or inattentive by monitoring whether or not they have closed their eyes. It uses a sensor on the dashboard that can detect which direction the driver’s eyes are pointed, how open they are and the angle and position of the person’s head.
“This will enable the driver to rely a bit more on their car, and know that it will help them when needed,” Volvo engineer Per Landfors said.
LEDs shine an infrared light at the driver that the system monitors. Volvo says it is just outside the wavelengths visible to the human eye, meaning the technology will work without disturbing the driver.
Other applications for the technology could include adaptive lighting systems that would be able to adjust their direction based on where the driver is looking. It could also recognize which driver is sitting behind the wheel and adjust seat settings accordingly, although not through any kind of retinal scanning.
Volvo said the system would be able to recognize points on a person’s face to identify them, emphasizing how important it would be that the system not save any pictures of serve any kind of driver surveillance function.
The company hasn’t announced a timeline for when the system could work its way into vehicles marketed to the public, but said today that it has already installed it in some of its test vehicles.
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