In-Car Facial Recognition Saves Lives

Car crashes are expected to be exponentially reduced in the coming years due to a new technology created by scientists that work for Volvo and GM. In-Car Facial Recognition is a new system that can detect distracted drivers before they make a mistake.

The system is programmed to detect an increase in stress levels. The computer can detect this by recognizing signs such as a tightened jaw or closing eyes.

Volvo claims “the technology relies on sensors installed in the dashboard. Called Driver State Estimation, this consists of small LED lamps that shine invisible infrared light on the driver’s face. Sensors pick up the reflected light, and the system uses face recognition technology to determine if the driver is awake and alert by measuring such factors as how wide open the eyes are, along with the position and angle of the head.”

The software can alert a driver with the use of both LED lights and buzzers. Modern cars already have the capability to detect lane departures, and the new system will be able to tie in with the preexisting one.

For example, if a person is deemed to be fully alert, the Facial Recognition System will tell the Lane Departure System to loosen its parameters. This will reduce the amount of unnecessary alarms inside the automobile.

Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne—or EPFL for short, “have adapted an infrared camera-based facial detection system (so it works all hours of the day) to keep an eye out for two specific expressions: anger and disgust, which indicate the driver is upset.”

Scientists at EPFL have made a successful prototype of the device. A spokesman for the EPFL claimed that one of the hardest parts of programming the system is training it to recognize all types of possible reactions. Every person acts differently behind the wheel of the car.

Although scientists have not been able to make the system flawless, they have been able to see a dramatic decrease in crashes while the system is in use.

Volvo hopes its technology will be able to help personalize automobiles in the future. Scientists claim that the software will eventually be able to make adjustments to a car’s climate and seats.

Experts expect the new software to be just as common as seat belts in the future.


Categories: Technology