SEAT explores technology to detect drivers nodding off

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Car manufacturer SEAT is experimenting with technology that studies a driver’s eyes and head movement to detect if they’re falling asleep.

SEAT’s Xplora team searches for innovative companies which develop connected car tech and smart mobility services. It has now partnered with Eyesight Technologies, which uses advanced computer vision and artificial intelligence to improve road safety.

The firm, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has developed an algorithm which analyses the eye openness, angle of vision, blink rate and head position of the driver, along with other visual attributes.

In the event it detects that the driver is drowsy, asleep or perhaps distracted by their mobile phone, it will trigger an alert.

The technology can also identify the driver from previous trips and adjust the seats, mirrors, heating settings and other cabin features according to their personal preferences.

Eventually, the software will be able to detect pedestrians and analyse whether the driver has spotted them as well.

Stefan Ilijevic, the head of product innovation at SEAT, said: “In total more than 90 per cent of the road accidents in Europe are caused by human factor.

“The main reasons include distraction and tiredness, excessive speed and alcohol and drugs.

“At SEAT we are working on solutions to prevent negligence behind the steering wheel and significantly reduce road accidents.

“We partner with some of the world’s brightest companies on important technology to save lives, since our long-term vision is a world with zero accidents.”

Eyesight Technologies is based in Tel Aviv, Israel – a hotspot for tech companies with 6,600 startups, 800 of which are dedicated to the car industry.

Another firm working with SEAT is Gauzy, which has developed an active glazing technology that adapts to the weather conditions. It could give the driver the ability to darken windows, within legal limits, to avoid being dazzled by the sun, and lighten the windows in darker environments and weather conditions.

Chris Price
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