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Car Manufacturers Want To Monitor Drivers Inside Their Cars

Saturday January 12, 2019. 05:34 PM , from Slashdot
Startups are demonstrating 'sensor technology that watches and analyzes drivers, passengers and objects in cars' reports Reuters -- a technology that 'will mean enhanced safety in the short-term, and revenue opportunities in the future.'

SonicSpike shares their report:
Whether by generating alerts about drowsiness, unfastened seat belts or wallets left in the backseat, the emerging technology aims not only to cut back on distracted driving and other undesirable behavior, but eventually help automakers and ride-hailing companies make money from data generated inside the vehicle... Data from the cameras is analyzed with image recognition software to determine whether a driver is looking at his cellphone or the dashboard, turned away, or getting sleepy, to cite a few examples... European car safety rating program Euro NCAP has proposed that cars with driver monitoring for 2020 should earn higher ratings...
But automakers are more excited by the revenue possibilities when vehicle-generated data creates a more customized experience for riders, generating higher premiums, and lucrative tie-ins with third parties, such as retailers. 'The reason (the camera) is going to sweep across the cabin is not because of distraction... but because of all the side benefits,' said Mike Ramsey, Gartner's automotive research director. 'I promise you that companies that are trying to monetize data from the connected car are investigating ways to use eye-tracking technology....' Carmakers could gather anonymized data and sell it. A billboard advertiser might be eager to know how many commuters look at his sign, Ramsey said. Tracking the gaze of a passenger toward a store or restaurant could, fused with mapping and other software, result in a discount offered to that person.

The Cadillac CT6 already has interior-facing cameras, Reuters reports, while Audi and Tesla 'have developed systems but they are not currently activated.' And this year Mazda, Subaru and Byton plan to introduce cameras that watch for inattentive drivers.

But where will it end? One company's product combines five 2D cameras with AI technology to provide 'in-vehicle scene understanding' which includes each passenger's height, weight, gender and posture. And while low on specifics, Reuters reports that several companies that sell driver-watching technologies 'have already signed undisclosed deals for production year 2020 and beyond.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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