Volvo Developing Advanced Driver Eye Monitor with Infrared Light, Aids Self-Driving Tech

By Matthew Askari | March 18, 2014
Volvo is testing an advanced in-cabin sensor that monitors the driver's eyes, and adjusts safety and semi-autonomous driving features accordingly, bringing us one step closer to autonomous vehicles. The Driver State Estimation uses a dashboard sensor and infrared light -- undetectable to the human eye -- to analyze the state of a driver, detect if the driver's eyes are closing, or even in which direction the person operating the vehicle is looking.
"Since a car is able to detect if a driver is not paying attention, safety systems can be adapted more effectively. For example, the car's support systems can be activated later on if the driver is focused, and earlier if the driver's attention is directed elsewhere," says Per Landfors, an engineer at Volvo Cars and project leader for driver support functions. Based on the driver's attention level, systems such as Lane Keeping Aid, collision warning with full auto brake, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist, could all be activated to decrease the probability of an accident. Volvo has already announced a lofty goal that no one shall be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.
Additional capability includes driver detection based on eye and facial recognition to adjust seat settings, but Landfors makes it clear that the car would not save photos of the driver, or have a driver surveillance function, to ease the potential concerns of privacy advocates and potential owners. Volvo says the technology is currently being evaluated on test vehicles. Source: Volvo