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Eye on you
Through systems that can recognise and distinguish whether a driver is tired or inattentive, the car of the future can become even safer.

14.04.2014 - Volvo Cars has made no secret of their goal for 2020: that no one shall be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo.  To this end the company’s investigation into technology that can make driving safer continues at an impressive rate.

One of the most exciting innovation being tested at the moment is a dashboard mounted sensor which monitors aspects such as in which direction the driver is looking, how open their eyes are, and the position and angle of their head.  These readings are used to judge how alert the driver is, and even if they are about to fall asleep.  If signs of extreme fatigue are noted, believe it or not, the system can then ensure the car does not stray out of its lane or get too close to the vehicle in front, as well as being able to wake a driver who is falling asleep.

Small LEDs illuminate the driver with infrared light, which is then monitored by the sensor.  Infrared light is just outside the wavelengths that the human eye can see, which means the person behind the wheel doesn’t notice it at all.

Driver sensors are also opening up other possibilities.  By monitoring eye movements, the car would be able to adjust both interior and exterior lighting to follow the direction in which the driver is looking.  The car would also be able to adjust seat settings, for instance, simply by recognising the person sitting behind the wheel.

Those last installations are yet to come, but some of the current systems that can be included are Lane Keeping Aid, Collision Warning with full auto brake and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist.  The car of the future is on its way.


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