For decades, automakers have been developing innovative technologies to provide a safer driving experience. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), a technology that can control acceleration, deceleration and steering, became available with the introduction of anti-lock brakes in the 1950s. In pursuit of consumer-grade autonomous vehicles today, advanced systems such as highway driving assistance and autonomous emergency braking are available.
Fully autonomous cars aren’t a reality today, but as vehicles begin to take up more and more of their driving tasks, drivers can start to rely too much on ADAS to shift their attention off the road to other activities. This can lead to unsafe driving conditions. To prevent accidents caused by driver drowsiness or carelessness, artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of driver monitoring systems (DMS) is proving effective, and government agencies around the world are starting to recognize its importance.
DMS is a real-time system that collects observable information about drivers that test their ability to safely perform dynamic driving tasks. The vehicle is equipped with a camera/sensor built into the dashboard and aimed at the driver’s face. By accurately measuring eye and head position, driver attention and fatigue, the system can detect distracted and drowsy drivers.
DMS also detects driver vigilance by measuring participation in multitasking activities such as eating, drinking, using cell phones, and blinking and yawning while driving. When the AI detects these distraction events, the DMS invokes an action. DMS, for example, sends alerts in real time, signaling drivers to pay more attention and take necessary action to avoid accidents.
Not only does DMS play an essential role in driver safety, reliable analysis of the driver’s condition can lead to the development of critical technologies to support highly autonomous driving functions such as safe hand-off tasks.