9/3/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

GM Plans Driver Distraction Monitoring System

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General Motors Co. intends in the next 3-5 years to market cars that can tell if their drivers are distracted, the Financial Times reports.

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General Motors Co. intends in the next 3-5 years to market cars that can tell if their drivers are distracted, the Financial Times reports.

The newspaper says GM aims to equip as many as 500,000 of its new vehicles with technology that tracks head and eye movement. The system will be able to determine whether drivers are spending enough time checking their rearview mirrors and the road ahead and alert them to pay attention if necessary.

GM has declined to comment on the project.

FT says the camera-based monitoring system will combine technology and algorithms developed by 14-year-old Seeing Machines Ltd. of Braddon, Australia, with the systems expertise of Japanese safety systems supplier Takata Corp.

The Seeing Machines system checks head position and uses a three-dimensional map of the vehicle's interior to tell within 1 what the driver is looking at.

CEO Ken Kroeger tells FT the capability eventually could enable drivers to operate controls or activate an app by looking at a target point within the car and pushing a button. The feature also could be used to thwart theft by identifying the driver before allowing the ignition to be switched on.

Kroeger says more advanced iterations will be able to check facial information and monitor pupil dilation. Such systems also will be able to combine their observations with input from other sensors to assess such factors as the driver's heart rate and blood-alcohol level.