Automakers around the world have realised that the traditional driver monitoring systems (DMS) will not cut it in an age where cars increasingly become responsible for driving themselves. Current DMS can monitor a driver's mental state only by taking in information from their handling of the brakes, accelerator, and hand movements on the wheel. Unfortunately, these DMS models will not solve the problem of fatigued or distracted driving, nor will they be able to protect people from potential crashes due to negligence behind the wheel of a self-driving car. Indeed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that 3,129 people were killed in 2014 due to distracted driving. They also reported that 846 people were killed due to fatigued driving.
The best solution to these conundrums is to implement eye tracking technology into all new vehicles. These interior-facing cameras will be able to analyze a person's eyelid movement and gaze, making it a far more precise measure of fatigue and distraction. This technology is designed to ensure a driver is always ready to take over control of the steering wheel in case something goes wrong on the road.
Eye tracking technology not only makes cars safer on the road, it also clears up the thorny legal issues involved in smart car crashes. To take an example, a recent video of the self-driving Infiniti Q50 in Germany showed a man get up from his seat and accidentally bump into the steering wheel while the car was zooming down a major highway. With eye detection technology, this act of driver negligence could have been prevented. Plus, if an accident were to occur, the car would be able to provide an electronic recording with evidence of the driver's state of mind at the time of the crash for lawyers.
Of course, eye tracking technology has various other implications for industries such as security and health care. Developers of eye detection DMS hope to use algorithms to be able to scan a person's entire face. By scanning the entire face, eye detection DMS can serve as a key to operate the vehicle, thereby making it more difficult to steal a car in the future. Also, developers hope this new DMS technology will be able to detect any potential health issues through facial scans. In the future, cars could even be driving sick people and expectant mothers to the hospital.Who knows?
The only thing we do know is that eye detection technology is being produced today to specifically combat distracted and fatigued driving. One major development in the wider distribution of this technology comes out of Toyota, which has released a Lexus LS model with eye tracking technology.
Everybody should get more comfortable with cameras watching over the drivers of tomorrow. ABI Research said that global shipments of cars with eye tracking DMS cameras could reach 6.7 million by 2019. Eye detection DMS can only help reduce the number of crashes due to fatigued and distracted driving, all while opening up new opportunities for integration in the economy of the future. As cars become more automated, eye tracking DMS will keep drivers awake and ready for any potentially life-threatening malfunction.