Vision system detects cell phone usage and smoking while driving

November 28, 2019 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
AI-based platform detects phone usage and smoking while driving
AI computer vision provider Eyesight Technologies has introduced new features for its DriverSense and FleetSense systems to detect driver distraction as a result of cell phone usage and smoking. The features will be added to the company's existing distraction and drowsiness detection capabilities to further mitigate driver distractions and prevent accidents.

Responsible for  80% of all accidents  on the road and 25% of accident-related fatalities, distracted driving has been described as “the new drunk driving." While external factors can contribute towards accidents, the reality is that the most dangerous aspect of the driving experience is actually the driver.

The single greatest distraction to drivers, the use of cell phones accounts for 25% of all accidents and 14% of all fatal accidents on the road. According to an  AT&T survey , 43% of teens and 49% of adults admit to texting while driving, so it's no surprise that cell phone usage is the cause of 1.6 million accidents annually in the US alone. The same dangers hold true for cigarette smokers, as an independent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded, accidents were two to three times more likely as a result of smoking while driving.

Eyesight Technologies' DriverSense driver monitoring system (DMS) analyzes the driver's facial features, including head pose, gaze vector, blink rate and eye openness to detect signs of drowsiness and distraction. The update increases the scope of the driver monitoring to extend beyond physical attributes of the driver to recognize driver actions and can now detect the smoking of a cigarette and cell phone related distractions. The new capabilities enable car manufacturers to intelligently alert the driver based on the type of distraction detected; cell phone usage may trigger one type of alert while showing signs of drowsiness can trigger a more urgent response.

The feature will also have future applications in the shared car economy, eliminating the presence of smoking in communal cars, such as rentals and autonomous taxis where there are no drivers present to enforce policies.

Eyesight Technologies will demo the new features at the upcoming CES 2020.

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