Applied Solutions offers eyetracking solutions for integration in passenger cars and other vehicles. Smart Eye has a longstanding vision for eyetracking to be integrated in vehicles, in order to facilitate safety functions and other functions that can improve the user experience.
In early 2015, a key breakthrough was made when a first design win was achieved for a car model for series production with integrated eyetracking. Since then, another design win has been achieved, from another vehicle operator.
Eyetracking in vehicles
Integrating eyetracking in a vehicle enables a number of functions that, together with the vehicle's other systems, can be used to improve safety and the user experience.
Studying eye movements can reveal whether the driver is sleepy, and the vehicle can then warn the driver. If the driver falls asleep, the car can be stopped. Sleepy drivers are a key reason for traffic accidents.
If the driver is not alert and attentive, the vehicle can give a warning and, if a serious situation arises, the vehicle can also take control. The increased use of mobile phones while driving has made a lack of attentiveness more common.
Adjustment of information system
The information system can be adjusted according to the driver's gaze. For example, the entertainment system display can be toned down while the driver is focusing on the traffic.
Eyetracking can identify the driver and adapt the vehicle’s settings accordingly, e.g. by adjusting the seat and information system.
There is a clear trend for autonomous vehicles as several of the world's largest car manufacturers are investing considerable resources and have longstanding plans to launch cars with self-driving functions during the next few years. Autonomous vehicles will be developed over time, as more and more advanced functions such as automatic braking, adjustable cruise control, driving in traffic jams, etc. are gradually introduced. Eyetracking plays a central role in facilitating functions in which the vehicle takes over more and more decisions.
Autonomous driving - self-driving cars
Self-driving cars have long been Utopia, but are now approaching achievement. Car models with autonomous driving functions are available in the market today; and during the next few years, several car manufacturers are expected to present car models with autonomous driving functions.
Yet there is still a long way to go to fully autonomous vehicles that can travel to the final destination without any driver involvement at all. Most of the technology already exists today, but greater reliability still needs to be developed, besides the creation of standards and adjustment of legislation, etc. to allow for fully autonomous vehicles.
The first step in this development is semi-autonomous driving whereby the car handles certain functions, while the driver participates actively and retains overall responsibility. Over time, the degree of autonomy is expected to increase, ending up with fully autonomous vehicles.
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has classified autonomous driving and defined a number of concepts within this area3. SAE has set a scale from zero to five, where five denotes fully autonomous vehicles.
When level three on the scale is reached, several elements will be performed by the vehicle autonomously, with the driver's attention being required in certain situations. The driver's behaviour must be registered using eyetracking, so that the vehicle knows whether the driver is alert and is ready to take over control of the vehicle. Smart Eye assesses that most car models as from level three and upwards will be equipped with eyetracking.
To facilitate autonomous driving, various sensors, electronics system processors and software are combined in a complex vehicle driving system, with eyetracking as a component to monitor the driver's behaviour. A number of sensors on the vehicle's exterior monitor the environment around the vehicle. These include camera-based sensors, radar, ultrasound sensors, laser meters and GPS. Powerful processors and artificial intelligence are used to process the information which is the basis for the vehicle's navigation in traffic.
Today, there are car models in the market at level two in SAE's definition, i.e. with partial automation. In 2017, several car models within level three, where the vehicle takes more and more control of driving, are expected to be launched. In the next few years, vehicles with built-in driver monitoring systems are expected to become more common. By 2020, it is expected that 96 million vehicles will be produced globally, of which around 2.6 million will have built-in eyetracking or other driver monitoring systems. By 2025, production is expected to reach around 111 million vehicles, of which around 36 million will have a built-in driver monitoring system, as described above.
Like earlier technologies in the automotive industry, it is likely that driver monitoring systems will first be introduced for more exclusive vehicles in the top price segment, and will then be gradually introduced for less expensive models.