Safety Monitor System Will Reduce Distractions and Drowsy Driving
Retrofittable driver status monitor system for CVs launched by Denso
As announced last year, Tier 1 supplier, Denso has released its new Status Monitor system that will help reduce accidents involving commercial vehicles. The retrofittable driver status monitor detects distractions and drowsiness, which will improve the safety of drivers in new and existing vehicles.
Denso Corporation collaborated with Silicon Valley-based technology company Xperi Corporation’s group company FotoNation to jointly develop a cabin sensing technology known as the driver status monitor system.
The partnership will help Denso improve the performance of its Driver Status Monitor, an active safety product currently used in commercial vehicles. Improvements of such products also will help it accelerate the development of next-generation products to be used in passenger vehicles. That includes a system to help drivers return to manually driving mode during Level 3 of autonomous driving.
This collaboration aims to achieve the world’s most sophisticated driver status detection, which will not be affected by differences between individual faces, or by sunglasses, masks, and other facial coverings, in the vehicle cabin where environmental light changes dramatically.
Denso started supplying the Driver Status Monitor for commercial vehicles from 2014. This safety product uses a cabin camera to capture images of the driver and a computer vision technology to detect the driver’s face angle to determine the level of drowsiness. By utilizing its proprietary algorithm for carefully analyzing the driver’s eye blinking, the driver status monitor can detect driver drowsiness and alert the driver when it judges the driver is distracted or falling asleep at the wheel.
FotoNation has been working on computer imaging solutions integration for over 10 years. Its technologies are being used in various devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, drones and security cameras. The company says that approximately 25 percent of the world’s smartphones currently use its image recognition technology. The technology easily transitions to the status monitor.
“Understanding the status of the driver and engaging them at the right time is an important component for enabling the future of autonomous driving. I believe this collaboration with Xperi will help accelerate our innovative ADAS product development by bringing together the unique expertise of both our companies,” says Yukihiro Kato, senior executive director, Information and Safety Systems Business Group, Denso.
The Tier 1 supplier says that by using FotoNation’s facial image recognition and neural networks technologies, the detection accuracy will increase remarkably by detecting much more features. Instead of just relying on the conventional detection method based on the relative positions of the eyes, nose, mouth, and other facial regions, it will develop new functions, such as those to detect the driver’s gaze direction and facial expressions more accurately. And it will try to understand the state of mind of the driver in order to help create more comfortable vehicles.
The prototype of the next-generation driver status monitor by Denso was showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show from October 27 to November 5, 2017.
The safety product checks for distractions, drowsiness, sleep, and inappropriate posture based on the driver’s facial image, which is captured through a camera installed in the cabin. If the driver is detected with drowsy or distracted behavior, the monitor voices an alert.
The company states CVs can cause serious damage in an accident, and many trucks and buses do not have the latest safety devices installed because they’ve been in use for so many years. The driver status monitor is retrofittable to existing vehicles on the road, and can, therefore, accelerate the introduction of safety devices to a large number of existing vehicles.
The system detects driver’s condition and records it on an SD card, which can be later reviewed by the operation manager, including the number of voiced alerts, and an image of the driver when the alert was triggered. This feature offers additional guidance for safe driving.
The driver’s condition can also be notified to the operation manager in real-time, making it possible to caution the driver and take quick action in the event of an emergency. In addition, the monitor can be linked with a new telematics device for commercial vehicles released by Denso and a cloud-based digital tachograph manufactured by Fujitsu.
AutoCarPro- May 15, 2018 Update-“Denso launches retrofittable driver status monitor for CVs”
AutoCarPro- October 18, 2017- “Denso works on advanced image recognition tech to monitor driver alertness”