Israel-developed sensor technology that alerts drivers when they are distracted or drowsy has been incorporated into a car to be showcased by Spanish manufacturer SEAT at the 2018 Mobile World Congress Show this week in Barcelona.
SEAT has joined forces with Israel’s eyeSight Technologies to incorporate its embedded computer vision and deep learning solutions within the Leon Cristobel Concept Car it will present at the Barcelona congress.
“This is the first vehicle manufacturer to publicly introduce our technology,” said Iain Levy, VP Automotive of eyeSight, in a phone interview.
eyeSight’s solution uses an infrared sensor together with computer vision to help monitor drivers’ direction of sight, the level of their attention to the road and if they show signs of drowsiness. Once drowsiness or distraction is detected, eyeSight provides an alert in real time.
“Our technology uses computer vision — a camera technology to provide a complete in-cabin vision solution,” said Levy. The technology looks at the position of drivers’ heads, their eyes, how often they blink and where they are looking. It can also detect pupil dilation, which would provide information about drugs or alcohol use.
The car manufacturers must decide what to do when an alert is given, said Levy. In the case of the Leon Cristobel, SEAT decided to give an audio warning to drivers about being distracted or too drowsy to drive, he said.
Driverless car and auto technologies that would remove human error from the driving experience have seen an explosion of interest in the past few years by corporations and investors. Auto-tech funding quadrupled to over $4 billion in 2017, according to New York based data firm CBInsights. The $15 billion acquisition of Israeli auto-technology firm Mobileye by Intel Corp. last year cast a spotlight on Israeli startups in the sector, enabling the nation to become a significant player in the automotive industry of the future.
The Leon Cristobal is the safest car in the history of the SEAT brand as it is equipped with 15 advanced safety assistant systems that contribute to reducing the main causes of road collisions, eyeSight said in a statement.
“SEAT’s collaboration with eyeSight Technologies underscores our commitment to driver safety,” said Stefan Ilijevic, head of Innovation and Patent at SEAT. “Distraction and drowsiness are factors that cause more than 30 percent of all traffic collisions, but with the help of eyeSight’s advanced driver monitoring technology, our goal is to help significantly reduce these distractions and to make driving a safer endeavor.”
SEAT will be holding a demonstration of eyeSight’s driver monitoring solutions at MWC starting on Monday, the statement said. eyeSight will also be featuring its automotive solutions at this year’s show in the Israeli Pavilion.
eyeSight’s technology is also able to identify drivers, recognize driver gestures and detect other passengers as well, Levy said. “We are the only company with this complete cabin vision,” he said, adding that the software is “more accurate and cheaper” than those of competitors in Sweden and Australia.
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Barcelona, exports 80 percent of its vehicles, and is present in over 80 countries. In 2017, SEAT had worldwide sales of nearly 470,000 vehicles.
SEAT has also set up a Technical Centre which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are focused on developing innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in R&D.