Although it’s going to be several years at least before autonomous cars become mainstream, car makers like Volkswagen and Toyota are already beginning to test technology that will be able to sense when you’re too distracted to drive a vehicle. Manufacturers like General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen are looking at systems that would trigger alarms that the driver is too distracted or tried to be behind the wheel of a car. These systems could even launch as early as 2017.
The technology uses software and cameras to track a driver’s head movement and gaze and this will be available in two vehicles for sale next year. The system would then alert the driver with a seatbelt vibration and a noise if it detects that he or she has shifted their focus from the road for too long or if their eyelids seem tired enough to indicate sudden sleep.
Another firm is also looking at similar technology with automakers and this could help to address the rising instances of distracted driving across the country. In 2014 alone, 431, 000 individuals were injured in car crashes associated with distracted drivers and a further 3,179 individuals were killed. Despite the fact that texting and driving and other forms of distraction are typically illegal or at least strongly discouraged in many states, individuals still admit to engaging in these behaviors. For example, an Erie insurance study from 2015 discovered that one-third of drivers admitted to texting while driving.