The new features will be added to the company's DriverSense and FleetSense distraction and drowsiness detection capabilities to further mitigate driver distractions and prevent accidents. According to studies, 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, while smoking while driving was likely to increase the likelihood of accidents by two to three times.
The company's DriverSense driver monitoring system analyzes the driver's facial features, including head pose, gaze vector, blink rate, and eye openness to detect signs of drowsiness and distraction. The latest 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, says the company, 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.
"There's no greater distraction and danger on today's road than mobile phones," says David Tolub, CEO of Eyesight Technologies. "The average driver doesn't realize that looking down at your phone to check a text is six times more likely to result in an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol. Our first priority is the safety of all people on the road, and eliminating the distraction created by our cell phones is a huge step towards a much safer road."
The company says that it has also seen that in the trucking industry detection of smoking goes beyond distraction mitigation. With 67% of long haul truckers in the US smoking cigarettes according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, preventing smoking in the cabin during the transport of certain materials is a top priority for fleet managers.