Denso has announced that it will collaborate with FotoNation for development of cabin sensing technology that will keep tabs on driver alertness.
Denso already has a Driver Status Monitor, an active safety product which is now used in commercial vehicles and this partnership will help Denso to improve the performance of this technology and come up with new ones that can be used in passenger vehicles. Such technologies that are in the works include a system that would allow drivers to revert to manual driving during Level 3 of autonomous driving.
Denso is hoping that the collaboration with FotoNation will result in the development of the world’s most sophisticated driver status detection, which cannot be affected by changes in the availability of environmental light in the cabin or factors like the differences between individual faces, or coverings like masks and sunglasses.
Denso commenced commercial production and supply of the Driver Status Monitor for commercial vehicles from 2014. This technology uses a camera in the cabin to capture images of the driver and determines the level of drowsiness of the driver by using these images in tandem with computer vision technology that can detect the angle of the driver’s face. It comes with a proprietary algorithm for assessing the blink rate and thus determining the driver’s level of alertness. It immediately alerts the driver if it determines that he is either distracted or sleepy.
FotoNation has considerable expertise in computer imaging solutions integration and has been in the field for more than 10 years. The company’s technologies are used in many devices like drones, mobile phones, digital cameras, and security cameras. According to FotoNation, about 25 percent of the smartphones in the world use its image recognition technology.
“Understanding the status of the driver and engaging them at the right time is an important component for enabling the future of autonomous driving. I believe this collaboration with Xperi will help accelerate our innovative ADAS product development by bringing together the unique expertise of both our companies,” says Yukihiro Kato, senior executive director, Information and Safety Systems Business Group, Denso.
Denso said that using FotoNation’s facial image recognition and neural networks technologies will help enhance the accuracy of the detection as many more features can be detected. While the Driver Status Monitor uses the conventional detection method of using relative positions of the eyes, nose, mouth, and other facial regions to detect drowsiness, the collaboration will focus on the development of new functions like those to detect the driver’s gaze direction and facial expressions more accurately. The new technology will also help determine the driver’s state of mind in order to make the vehicles more comfortable.
Denso will be showcasing the prototype of the next-generation driver status monitor at the Tokyo Motor Show from October 27 to November 5, 2017.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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