Harman, a subsidiary of Samsung, announced a new OEM automotive technology to detect not only when drivers are drowsy or distracted, but also to detect if they are anxious or in “cognitive overload.” Harman said this is the first technology to measure not only driver alertness, but a driver’s “state of mind.”
The technology, called Ready Care, combines an infra-red camera and other sensors with machine learning algorithms. The camera surveys the driver’s face, even in low lighting. It examines facial expressions, eye gaze, eyelid openings and more. Ready Care also uses “a cognitive load measurement tool” to determine when the driver is distracted, and can respond with different in-cabin stimuli.
The technology is important because one of every ten fatal crashes involves distraction, causing 3,000 deaths per year, said Harman.
The technology, currently available to car makers, is “the only in-market solution capable of detecting if the driver’s eyes and mind are focused on the road while also offering personalized interventions to reduce distractions,” said Harman.
Ready Care interventions include rerouting to a less stressful roadway, changing the HVAC settings, or changing the infotainment content or volume level. Seat sensors can also be part of the solution.
“Ready Care is essentially a co-pilot, spotting when distractions could turn into dangerous situations and intervening to avoid them. For the first time, the vehicle can know what the driver is thinking; this is a game changer,” said Armin Prommersberger, Senior VP Harman Automotive Product Management.