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The Latest in Active Auto Safety by Volvo - Face Recognition



New cars are getting smarter by the day, and auto manufacturers are competing to develop new breed of active auto safety technology that can make headlines.

In conjunction with PSA Peugeot Citroën, scientists at the Transportation Center and Signal Processing 5 Laboratory of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland are developing a technology that uses a camera to capture facial expressions and software to look for telltale signs of distraction as well as emotions that could indicate that the driver is not up to the task at hand.

It's like having a concerned spouse sitting next you who knows how to read your condition by the looks on your face.  Olivier Pajot, PSA Peugeot Citroën’s EPFL representative, said in a statement that the automaker is using the research to “make the interface between the car and the driver more intuitive,” and that reading intentions from a driver’s facial expression “is a very natural interactive mode.”

In the past few years, assisted driving technology has moved out of the laboratory and into the production vehicles. There are cars now that can help you park, keep you from making dangerous lane changes, and even apply the brakes in an emergency. 

Volvo's approach relies on sensors installed in the dashboard. Called Driver State Estimation, this consists of small LED lamps that shine invisible infrared light on the driver's face. Sensors pick up the reflected light, and the system uses face recognition technology to determine if the driver is awake and alert by measuring such factors as how wide open the eyes are, along with the position and angle of the head.

There have been similar development by technology giants and auto makers in the past.  For instance, Toshiba showcased a facial-recognition system that searches for distraction and also allows tuning the radio with a blink of an eye.  BMW also invested in “pupilometry” research which focuses on tracking driver’s eyeballs to better understand how much visual stimuli can be absorbed before distraction ensues.

Will this technology make to production cars and does what it is intended for in the near future? We shall see.

The Latest in Active Auto Safety by Volvo - Face Recognition Reviewed by Brandon Oh on 12:14 PM Rating: 5

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