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Sunday January 8, 2006 6:32 pm

CES 2006 Video: Delphi Eye Tracking Driver Drowsiness and Distraction System

Dephi introduced their revolutionary drowsiness and distraction detection system as part of their “cocoon of safety” set of auto safety-based integrated technologies. The system automatically locks onto your eyes and monitors them for signs of drowsiness. Long before you actually begin closing your eyes for prolonged periods, your pupil and eye movement activities let them system know that you may be getting drowsy and allows it to prepare to alert. Further, when the system detects that you’re distracted for a period longer than that required to say, check your blind spot, or change a lane, it can also issue an alert.

Check out our video interview with one of the Delphi developers as he walks us through the technology, explains its future implementations and lets us see exactly how it works. (And enjoy a psuedo-infrared shot of me, seeing just how flexible the system is.)

With integration into other safety systems, like adaptive cruise control and assisted braking, the eye-tracking won’t necessarily just alert the user, but can instead proactively help to prevent or reduce the severity of an accident. As someone who’s nearly killed himself a few times on the I-10 to Tucson at 1 am, I can hardly wait.

A few notes about the video demo, after the jump.

It should be noted that while the system is built to better track and even recognize glasses, the large spotlights above us would sometimes obstruct my pupils for a prolonged period, as you can see on the video, and thus, lose tracking. We’re assured that such is not the case in a production environment.

Also, the sensitivity threshold was set very high—the system won’t ramp up to a full alert mode in a production environment. Further, as discussed in the video, there are two distinct systems at play: One for drowsiness, and one for distraction. In the demo, they’re separated. In a production environment, they’ll be integrated together.

Asked about time until market, Delphi responded that it’s simply down to the auto manufacturers. The technology is ready to be implemented, but the market will need to push for it for auto makers to respond and begin implementing. Put another way, even though the technology is production-ready, it could be another 2-4 (or more) years until we see it in new models. For now, Delphi is pushing the technology to their commercial vehicle customers, such as truck driving and the like.

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