Pupil Biometrics System Monitors Driver Alertness, Stress

Pupil Biometrics System Monitors Driver Alertness, StressA new automotive system is aiming to keep drivers and their passengers safe by monitoring drivers’ pupil biometrics.

Developed by Harman International Industries, the system analyzes the driver’s pupil dilation to determine levels of tiredness or distraction. When a driver does appear to be very tired or suffering from a “high cognitive load”, the system works with the car’s built-in safety features to react to the driver’s condition. For example, the system could put a mobile device into do-not-disturb mode to ensure the driver doesn’t experience further distraction.

Commenting on the system in a press release, Harman VP Alon Atsmon suggested that it could be an important part of the smart car of the future, asserting that Harman’s technology “is advancing the state of the art for solutions that balance drivers’ desire to stay connected in the car without a compromise to their safety and security.”

Using biometrics for driver safety is a relatively novel concept. Late in 2014, Fujitsu filed a patent for a system that would use steering wheel-mounted electrodes to monitor a driver’s cardiac signals and thereby track alertness; more recently Olea Sensor Networks developed a seatbelt-based cardiac sensor that could trigger emergency services alerts in the event of an accident. Harman’s technology, clearly, is something novel, and could find an interested audience as it is shown off at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show.