Autonomous driving is all the rage this week at the 2015 CES, so it came as a surprise to learn Jaguar Land Rover is focusing on technologies monitoring a driver’s alertness level.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) announced it is working in the U.S. with Intel and Seeing Machines to develop sensing technology that monitors the driver’s face and eyes to reduce distracted and drowsy driving.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Seeing Machines is demonstrating its Driver Monitor System (DMS) in a Jaguar F-Type prototype developed jointly with Intel at Jaguar Land Rover’s new R&D facility in Portland, Oregon.
JLR explained DMS uses attention-monitoring sensors in the dashboard to detect eye and facial movements so it can identify if the driver has become inattentive, either due to drowsiness or distraction. The company states the system is so sophisticated it can understand the state of the driver in real world conditions, including bright sunlight and if the driver is wearing glasses or sunglasses.
“The algorithm we have developed for DMS has the potential to seamlessly enable a host of safety and autonomous driving features and reduce the potential for accidents caused by the driver not paying attention,” said Nick Langdale-Smith, Vice President, Seeing Machines. “DMS is unique because it is the only driver monitoring system that can achieve this even if the driver is wearing shades, or in full sunshine.”
To deliver the processing power required by the DMS system, Seeing Machines said it asked Intel to install hardware in the F-Type prototype based on its newest Intel Core™ i7 chips.
“The attention-monitoring technology we are showcasing at CES has huge potential for road safety,” said Dr Wolfgang Ziebart, Jaguar Land Rover Engineering Director. “If the driver’s gaze moves towards the infotainment screen or out of a side window, and the car identifies this, then the system could alert the driver to hazards earlier. DMS could even enhance settings in safety systems like Autonomous Emergency Braking, to reflect the driver’s lack of attention. As the car drives up to a hazard, the brakes could engage autonomously sooner because the car realizes the driver has not seen the danger ahead.”
JLR added DMS could also help the car share information with the driver more effectively. Jaguar Land Rover said it is currently researching a next-generation heads-up display that could utilize the full width of the windscreen. The idea is to present the right information to the driver at the right time, without having to take their eyes off the road.
“Whether we are projecting a transparent view of the bonnet, or helping the driver to navigate by following a ghost car, it would be very useful to understand exactly when the driver’s eyes aren’t actually looking at the windscreen to see this information, so it can be repeated or shared in a different way,” added Dr Ziebart.
Seeing Machines describes itself as a world leader in the development of computer vision related technologies that help machines understand people by tracking and interpreting human faces and eyes.