Warning systems that sound the alarm in the event of distraction and fatigue will become so important in the future that the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) will include them in its timetable for the Euro-NCAP evaluation scheme for vehicle safety until 2025. The information from the interior monitoring system is only evaluated by the software in the car, but is neither stored nor passed on to third parties, Bosch assures.
How important it is for the car to understand the driver becomes obvious when driving automatically according to SAE Levels 2 and 3. The car then drives on highways without the driver's intervention, for example, but will also have to return the control to the driver - for example if it becomes unclear at a construction site or if it arrives at the desired exit. The camera makes sure that the driver does not fall asleep so that he can safely take over the wheel again at any time during the automated journey. If the driver keeps his eyes closed for an extended period of time, the system issues an acoustic warning. Based on the camera recordings, it also interprets what the driver is currently busy with and how ready he is to record. It can thus adapt the transfer of the driving task accordingly. According to Bosch engineers, driver observation is thus a prerequisite for safe automated driving.
The new Bosch system not only keeps an eye on the driver, but also on the front passenger and the passengers in the rear seat. For this purpose, a camera is installed above the rear-view mirror that overlooks the entire interior. It detects when children in the rear seat are carelessly loosening their seat belts and warns the driver. If a passenger sits too far forward in the rear seat, leaning too far or even diagonally and with his feet on the side seat, airbags and belt tensioners cannot provide optimum protection in the event of an accident. The information collected by the interior camera provides information about the seat posture and adjusts the airbags and belt pretensioners to provide the best possible protection. Thanks to the interior monitoring system, the airbag on the front passenger seat also does not activate when a baby seat is in place.
In addition to safety, the system also takes care of the comfort of the vehicle occupants. The interior camera recognises which person is seated in the driver's seat and adjusts the rear-view mirror, seat position, steering wheel height and infotainment system settings to the person's previously stored preferences. In addition, the camera enables car manufacturers' developers to control the infotainment settings with gestures or eyes.