In a bid to be the first mass-produced car with built-in anti-distraction technology, General Motors has arranged to equip its vehicles with sensing systems that detect distracted activity and warn the driver, as Ben Geier reports for Fortune.
The U.S. automaker has arranged to buy the distracted-driving detection sensors from a partnership of TK Holdings and Seeing Machines Limited, Geier writes. TK Holdings is the American subsidiary of Takata, the Japanese company that supplies GM cars with safety parts, according to Geier and a Seeing Machines press release. Seeing Machines, which has offices in Australia, the U.S., and Chile, focuses on operator-monitoring and intervention-sensing technologies and services.
The two technology companies believe that driver-monitoring systems are the next big thing for driving safety because of the distraction potential of in-vehicle infotainment systems, according to the press release. To reduce the risk of potentially fatal car accidents, the driver monitoring system, which has been in development for two years, will warn drivers when their attention to the road has lapsed, Seeing Machines writes.
Ashlee Kieler writes for Consumerist that Seeing Machines’ technology can identify when a driver turns his or her head and how often the driver blinks. The system positions that data onto a three-dimensional map of the inside of the vehicle to determine where the driver is looking, and alerts the driver when his or her eyes are not on the road, Kieler writes. She adds: “Seeing Machines’ CEO Ken Kroeger tells the Financial Times that the device isn’t just to detect distracted driving but could also prevent it.”
Seeing Machines writes of the system it has developed with TK Holdings:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of every ten fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distraction — this technology underpins the future of intelligent safety systems, allowing a driver to share their attention without compromising safety.
The Seeing Machines blog writes:
‘One of the reasons we partnered with Takata was because we share a vision of roads without accidents,’ says Ken [Kroeger]. ‘Takata’s safety products like seatbelts save lives but, as Takata says, nothing is better than preventing accidents from happening in the first place. They’ve been working with carmakers around the world for decades. In the next decade millions of cars will be fitted with our driver fatigue and distraction detection technology thanks to our partnership.’