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Driver monitoring system fitment to rise in next few years
With vehicles becoming more connected and automated, a driver monitoring system (DMS) has become a must-have technology to monitor a driver's attention and prevent distracted driving. While greater connectivity features such as navigation and hands-free calling have enhanced drivers' in-vehicle experience, they have also become a key source of distraction while driving, leading to accidents and causing injuries and deaths. In the United States alone, distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released last month.
DMS can be an effective technology to curb driver distraction and thereby accidents; it continuously monitors a driver's status and alerts the driver of any danger. While DMS itself is not new and has been around for around two decades, the technology failed to go mainstream until it started using in-vehicle cameras to monitor drivers. Earlier versions of DMS used steering wheel sensors and some relied on time-of-flight technology to gauge a driver's head position. DMS has recently made considerable progress, thanks to growing use of advanced image sensors, camera systems and software that allow the system to track a driver's eyes even when they are wearing sunglasses or at night.
Advanced DMS solutions
Israel-based Eyesight Technologies uses embedded computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to provide advanced driver monitoring capabilities. The company's driver monitoring solution 'Driver Sense' tracks the driver's head pose, blink rate, gaze vector and other visual attributes to detect distraction or sign of drowsiness. Eyesight claims that when using DriverSense, a vehicle's safety systems can be informed of driver distraction in real time, allow the vehicle to trigger alerts and other actions at the right time to prevent accidents.
Affectiva, a MIT Lab spin-off, uses cameras and microphones to measure complex emotional and cognitive states from face and voice. The company uses AI and deep learning technologies to offer advanced driver monitoring by analyzing both face and voice for level of driver impairment caused by physical distraction and mental distraction from cognitive load or anger, drowsiness and more.
Apart from the main function of monitoring driver attention and detecting distraction, advanced DMS also enables personalization of in-car environment. Eyesight's DriverSense, for example, allows drivers to personalize in-vehicle settings by adjusting seat, mirror, temperature and other cabin features according to their preferences. When an enrolled driver enters the car, the solution allows the driver to launch a pre-set profile.
Companies offering DMS are also launching solutions that enable monitoring of not just the driver but the entire cabin, including all occupants and objects. Eyesight has developed "Cabin Sense", which monitors the entire in-cabin environment in real time. The technology provides key cabin related information, such as the number of passengers in the cabin, passenger recognition, posture analysis and object detection. Cabin Sense enables real-time adjustment of airbag deployment based on customer size and position, triggers seatbelt alerts when worn improperly and adjusts in-car environment according to the number of passengers present in the vehicle.
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