Harman Launches Eyes-and-Mind Driver Monitor

Connected car technology company Harman has launched an in-cabin suite to monitor driver awareness, reduce stress and improve comfort levels.

Its Ready Care solution claims to monitor cognitive distraction, provide stress-free routing and personalize comfort, that can work together or independently, in a bid to improve safety and reduce driver stress. The suite is powered by newly developed machine learning algorithms, which gather and process data from in-vehicle cameras and sensors to monitor a driver’s state and generate customized in-vehicle cabin prompts to trigger a range of behavioral responses.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one of every ten fatal crashes in the US involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths a year. This new suite claims to be the only in-market solution capable of detecting if the driver’s eyes and mind are focused on the road while also offering personalized interventions to reduce distractions.

Key features of Ready Care include:

  • An infra-red global shutter camera with active illumination surveys the driver’s face in low and high light environments to provide real-time data into facial expressions, eye gaze, eyelid openings and more. The Harman Cognitive Distraction feature deciphers when the driver is mentally distracted and can initiate multiple and simultaneous in-cabin vehicle intervention responses. It measures real-time driver cognitive load and separates driving tasks from mental as well as visual and manual distractions, enabling tailored intervention strategies to maximize safety.
  • It provides an alternate route selection to lower the inevitable driver stress levels while on the road. Through detecting real-time stress factors like traffic jams or weather and adapting accordingly, this solution helps mitigate the driver’s state of stress.
  • The suite employs machine learning to provide personalized intervention strategies tailored to the individual and their driving experience. It delivers closed-loop interventions via an SDK, allowing automakers and third parties to integrate any vehicle feature or function – such as HVAC control, media content and volume, or seat sensors – to become part of the intervention solution.

Armin Prommersberger, senior vice-president, automotive product management at Harman International, said: “Ready Care is essentially a co-pilot, spotting when distractions could turn into dangerous situations and intervening to avoid them. For the first time, the vehicle can know what the driver is thinking; this is a game changer. We are incredibly proud of and excited by the impact Ready Care will have for drivers, passengers, and everyone on the road.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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