Most automakers have failed to address the distracted driving problem that motorists struggle with. In fact, automakers have likely compounded the problem by introducing more entertainment, communication and navigation technologies in their vehicles, further increasing the risk of distracted driving. Now, General Motors has announced plans to introduce a feature that would help detect distracted driving by motorists.
General Motors has been reeling under the impact of massive recalls of millions of its vehicles this year for a number of problems. It faces lawsuits from families of persons killed in accidents involving GM vehicles with defective ignition switches. The company is hoping, that its line of vehicles that come with eye and head tracking technology to identify distracted driving in motorists, will be a success.
According to officials at General Motors, the company is currently negotiating an agreement for 500,000 tracking devices that will be supplied over the next 3 to 5 years. The collaboration involves General Motors, tracking device maker Seeing Machines and manufacturer of safety devices Takata. According to initial reports, these tracking devices from Seeing Machines can analyze a motorist’s facial features and identify signs of distracted driving. For instance, features like the frequency of eye blinks can be imposed on a three-dimensional map of the interior of the car to determine what the motorist is looking at. If the device detects that the motorist is not looking at the road or focusing on the task of driving, the device will alert the motorist that he is in danger of causing an accident.
According to Seeing Machines, the device will not only detect distracted driving, but will also help prevent it. Over a period of time, the device will be modified to allow motorists to activate apps, by simply looking at a certain location inside the car, and tapping on a button on the steering wheel.
Those are ambitious plans, and both General Motors and Takata which has also found itself at the center of a controversy related to defective airbags, are hoping that the collaboration is successful.