What is driver monitoring?
A driver monitoring system (DMS) can be described as a system installed in cars that has the ability to recognize and analyze the driver’s movements, expressions and demeanor.
Modern driver monitoring systems involve eye tracking combined with AI technology.
By collecting data through cameras set up in the car, the system measures the driver's eye and head movements. The data is analyzed in real time through intelligent algorithms, and the DMS can determine the driver’s state of mind and evaluate his or her ability to drive. If the system detects signs of drowsiness, insobriety or inattention in the driver, the car can ultimately act on this information in real time by warning the driver, adjusting the car’s security systems and regulating the car’s speed.
Why is driver monitoring so important?
With driver monitoring systems, road safety can be significantly improved. According to statistics presented by the European Commission, 90% of road crashes are linked to human error. And in 2017, 25,300 people were killed on EU roads, while 135,000 people were seriously injured.
Driver monitoring is an important safety measure to increase automotive safety. An intelligent DMS can detect when a driver is tired, intoxicated or otherwise distracted and take immediate action before an accident has the chance to occur. In fact, the European New Car Assessment Program (the Euro NCAP) will require newly-produced cars to have a driver monitoring system in order to be awarded the five-star safety rating.
Driver monitoring in the future
We are most likely no more than a couple of years away from seeing roads filled with semi-autonomous cars. But to ensure traffic safety when operating a semi-autonomous vehicle, the driver needs to be ready to take control of the steering wheel at any time necessary. This is where driver monitoring comes in – as an essential feature to ensure that the driver is continuously focused on the driving task even when operating a semi-autonomous car.
But in the not-so far off future, driver monitoring could do more than ”just” increasing road safety. Even when we reach the point of fully autonomous cars, the AI technology in advanced driver monitoring systems will take car usability to a brand new level. As the technology gets more advanced, the systems ability to differentiate between the driver’s different moods will become increasingly refined. The more you use your car, the more the system will be able to recognize your personal demeanor and unique characteristics. After a while, you car could notice a shift in your mood before you are even aware of it yourself!