SEAT: System to detect driver falling asleep at the wheel16 March 2020
Spanish car manufacturer SEAT is experimenting with technology that studies a driver’s eyes and head movement to detect if they’re falling asleep.
SEAT’s Xplora team searches for innovative companies which develop connected car-tech and smart mobility services. They have now partnered with Eyesight Technologies, which uses advanced computer vision and artificial intelligence to improve road safety.
Eyesight Technologies, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has developed an algorithm which analyses the eye openness, angle of vision, blink rate and head position of the driver, along with other visual attributes. If it detects that the driver is drowsy, asleep or perhaps distracted by their mobile phone, it will trigger an alert.
Tel Aviv is a hotspot for tech companies - boasting 6,600 start-ups, 800 of which are dedicated to the car industry.
The technology can also identify the driver from previous trips and adjust the seats, mirrors, heating settings and other cabin features according to their personal preferences. Eventually, the software will be able to detect pedestrians and analyse whether the driver has spotted them as well.
Stefan Ilijevic, the head of product innovation at SEAT, said: “In total more than 90 per cent of the road accidents in Europe are caused by human factors. The main reasons include distraction and tiredness, excessive speed and alcohol and drugs.”
Another firm working with SEAT’s Xplora team is Gauzy, which has developed an active glazing technology that adapts to the weather conditions.
It could give the driver the ability to darken windows, within legal limits, to avoid being dazzled by the sun, and lighten the windows in darker environments and weather conditions. Gauzy was started in the kitchen of one of its founders, who was looking for a way to make windows more private.
They now have more than 100 employees including PhD chemists and mechanical engineers, with two manufacturing facilities in Israel and Europe.
SEAR launched Xplora with Champion Motors, which is the Volkswagen Group’s brand importer in Israel, and in the past two years has worked with more than 200 emerging Israeli businesses.
Their team is responsible for finding solutions that enhance wellbeing and safety, cybersecurity, sustainability and artificial intelligence. The aim is to carry out at least 10 proofs of concept every year to test how selected innovations would adapt in vehicles and services.