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EASY RIDER

Auto brands rollout driver-monitoring technology

As automobiles increasingly offer autonomous functions that aid drivers, car manufacturers are providing extra safety measures by adding technology that monitors driver activity. The following brands have installed in-car, driver-facing cameras that are intended to prevent distracted driving, falling asleep at the wheel, and drunk driving.

SUBARU

Subaru’s 2019 Forester model has the ability to detect a driver’s fatigue through facial recognition technology. This technology, called DriverFocus, is a part of the car’s EyeSight driver assistance feature. DriverFocus will be able to monitor the driver and determine their level of fatigue or distraction. The system, which is located on the dashboard, uses a camera to track how long a driver’s eyes and face are away from the road. If this happens for an extended period of time, the system sends a helpful alert. If the alert is continually ignored, the Subaru eventually slows to a stop. What’s more, this technology can recognize up to five different drivers and their individual seating preferences.

VOLVO

Volvo is amping up the safety measures in its cars by adding in-car cameras to detect a driver’s level of distraction. The goal of this monitoring system is to prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel, driving drunk, or texting while driving—behaviors that are tracked based on the driver’s eye movements. If the cameras pick up on a lack of focus from the driver, the system alerts a Volvo representative through the car’s on-call assistance feature and the rep will check in with the driver. If a driver doesn’t answer, the car slows itself to a stop.

BMW

BMW recently added a driver-monitoring camera to its 2019 X5 sport utility vehicle. This model has a range of semi-autonomous driving functions to aid driving in long periods of traffic and includes a driver-facing camera to ensure that drivers aren’t misusing the auto-pilot and are still focused on the road. The camera, which is located in the dashboard, determines whether or not the driver’s eyes are open and on the road. BMW addressed privacy concerns around this technology by emphasizing that the camera does not record a driver’s activity; it simply monitors it.