Emerging Automotive In-Cabin Sensing Solutions for Safety and Comfort

November 03, 2021 // By Andreas Pellkofer, Gopal Karnam, Analog Devices
Emerging Automotive In-Cabin Sensing Solutions for Safety and Comfort
Automotive cabin sensing is a rapidly evolving area with a range of applications using a combination of sensors and intelligent algorithms.

Today there are two key aspects driving the development of in-cabin sensing technologies.

Firstly, regulations to improve occupant safety are being realized. Both Euro NCAP standards and European Commission (EC) regulations mandate the use of driver monitoring systems (DMS) by 2022, and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends DMS in semi-autonomous cars. A hands on/off detection (HOD) system is already required in 2021 to meet UN legislation (R79) for lane keeping assist systems (LKAS). Also, child presence detection systems will become mandatory in the U.S. by 2022. With this forthcoming legislation, DMS and occupant sensing capabilities will become a standard feature of L2+ and above driving assist platforms.

The second key aspect is comfort enhancement for passengers—for example, through emotional sensing. OEMs have detected this is a differentiation factor and will use leading-edge innovation technologies to address it.

How DMS Can Reduce EU Traffic Fatalities Safety


The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has calculated that 51 people per million inhabitants in the EU were killed in road accidents in 2019, with 95% of the cases caused by a human factor: driver error, distraction, drowsiness, stress, or fatigue.1 And the European Commission has announced a major package of transport safety initiatives with the “target of a 50 per cent cut in road deaths and serious injuries by 2030, with Vision Zero the aim by 2050.”2

DMS today already support other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). As an example, an LKAS is usually combined with an HOD system to detect the hands of the driver on the steering wheel. The system informs the driver to take back control when required. In addition, DMS offer new features to detect the driver’s health and ensure adequate attention levels.

The introduction of vital sign monitoring (VSM) technology, such as electrocardiography (ECG) or electrodermal activity (EDA → skin impedance), offers the ability to sense the driver’s health and stress level in order to

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