Harman Sees You When You’re Sleepy, It Knows Your Mind’s Away
Smart vehicle systems are starting to get seriously physiological. Generally speaking, most of the active monitoring systems to protect the driver we hear about are pointed at outside influences, be it automatic braking, lane keep assist, or blind spot monitoring. Inward-facing systems tend to need some sort of physical input from the driver, such as the car-mounted breathalyzers that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been working on, which require you to breathe into them or press your finger against a button, or the smart car seat that requires you to be touching two seat-mounted pads.
Not so with this one. Harman has announced the development of an in-car monitoring system that doesn’t need you to touch it or breathe on it—it just uses a rear-facing camera to watch your eyes. Basically, the system watches your pupils.
According to Harman, when your pupils dilate, it is a sign of “high cognitive load and mental multitasking”—aka, you are probably distracted with a lot on your mind. So, to respond, the system would adjust the user interfaces to be less distracting and put any mobile devices in do-not-disturb mode. On top of that, the system would increase the functioning of any outward-facing safety features, essentially putting the car’s active safety systems on high alert.