There was a time not so long ago when cars were pretty basic, when the only thing to distract you from your driving were your passengers and the music playing on your AM radio.
These days, with extensive in-car entertainment system, Internet connectivity and more buttons than you probably know what to do with, in-car distraction is at an all-time high. Add the distractive capabilities of portable devices like mobile telephones and tablet computers, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
But a new technology being planned for future GM cars could not only help you stay focused on the road ahead but chide you if you end up getting distracted on the road.
Enter Seeing Machines, an Australian company which has just signed an agreement with safety-goods maker Takata to provide GM with technology designed to detect driver distraction. The deal, reportedly enough equipment to outfit 500,000 cars with driver distraction detection technology over the next three to five years, could not only improve driver safety but reduce insurance costs, too.
As CNBC reports, the technology works by tracking driver head movement to determine if they are paying enough attention to the road ahead and rear-view mirrors. It can also detect if the driver looks down to operate a mobile phone, for example.
If the driver isn’t paying enough attention, there are a number of different tactics which could be used to refocus the driver, from simply sounding an alert in the cabin to perhaps even de-powering the car and forcing them to pull over at the next safe opportunity.
As our friends over at TheCarConnection note however, Seeing Machine’s technology isn’t just about telling off drivers if they look down at their phones. Because the technology is essentially a sophisticated form of facial recognition, the system could even be used to prevent unauthorised individuals from driving a car, something which could help prevent vehicular theft.
It could even be used to help ensure drivers are well behind the wheel, alerting medical personnel if the driver passes out.
Regardless of its use, facial recognition technology could dramatically help reduce insurance costs, as those with it fitted would presumably be less likely to crash due to distraction than those without it in their cars. It might be a long way from having the car drive itself, but combined with other driver assistance technologies like lane assist and forward crash avoidance, the car of the near future is about to get far smarter — and safer — than the cars we drive today.
But would you want a car keeping watch to make sure you behaved yourself behind the wheel?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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