“This will enable the driver to be able to rely a bit more on their car, and know that it will help them when needed,” explains Per Landfors, engineer at Volvo Cars and project leader for driver support functions.
A sensor on the dashboard monitors which direction the driver is looking at and how open their eyes are, alongwith head position and angle. Such detections through a precise safety system can adjust the car according to driver’s state. Safety can b eattaned though ensuring a car does not stray out of the lane or get too close to a car in front when a driver is inattentive.It can also wake a driver who is falling asleep.
“Since the car is able to detect if a driver is not paying attention, safety systems can be adapted more effectively. For example, the car’s support systems can be activated later on if the driver is focused, and earlier if the driver’s attention is directed elsewhere,” Per Landfors explains.
Lane Keeping Aid, Collision warning with full auto brake and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist are already working in this direction. Volvo’s tech is based on a sensor on the dashboard on driver side. Small LEDs illuminate the driver with infrared light for the sensor to monitor, and teh driver doesn’t see it. By monitoring eye movement, the car could adjust interior and exterior lighting to follow the direction in which the driver is looking. Seat settings could be adjusted by recognising the person sitting behind the wheel.
“This could be done by the sensor measuring between different points on the face to identify the driver, for example. At the same time, however, it is essential to remember than the car doesn’t save any pictures and nor does it have a driver surveillance function,” Per Landfors clarifies.
Volvo Cars is using thsi tech in test cars and is conducting research together with partners including Chalmers University of Technology and Volvo AB to effectively detect tiredness and inattention. Driver State Estimation can be very important in self-driving cars in the future.