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Volvo’s new EX90 model equipped with AI-based driver monitoring tech

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Volvo will introduce and standardize driver monitoring software (DMS) in its new fully-electric EX90, according to a company providing technology for the model.

Smart Eye, which develops artificial intelligence (AI)-based driver monitoring technology, said last week that its DMS software is included in the model.

The new technology combines a dual driver understanding system (DUS) with capacitive sensing to ensure hands are on the steering wheel, Smart Eye said when announcing the collaboration.

It said the technology would provide “a deeper understanding of the state of the driver.”

“We’re proud to work with Volvo Cars to deliver advanced road safety technology,” said Martin Krantz, CEO and founder of Smart Eye. “As two Swedish companies committed to stellar safety and impeccable design, this collaboration signifies great progress in an initiative that’s been prioritized in Sweden — and globally — for decades: to reduce road fatalities and save lives. The suite of advanced technologies that form the Volvo EX90’s driver understanding system ensure the best performance and accuracy, further enhancing safety.”

Smart Eye said its AI algorithms analyze driver eye, face, head, and body movements to more effectively identify the behaviors of those inside a vehicle.

Specifically, it notifies a vehicle when a driver is not concentrated on the driving task and, conversely, stays out of the way when assistance is not needed, Smart Eye said.

“Smart Eye’s leading DMS software is a key component in our Driver Understanding System, where once more, Volvo Cars’ state-of-the-art research will further help drivers avoid collisions,” said Åsa Haglund, head of Volvo’s safety center.

“For decades, Smart Eye has proven its strength in delivering outstanding measurement technology for driver behavior studies. Bringing that competence to bear directly in our products is a natural next step and tightly aligns with Volvo Cars’ commitment to continued innovation for everyone’s safety.”

The inclusion of the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technology is worth noting for repairers to underscore the importance of ensuring it’s restored to proper working order following a collision.

A number of ADAS systems include driver attention features that ensure drivers are alert and keep their eyes on the road while operating a vehicle.

For instance, Ford’s BlueCruise system sounds an alert if it detects a driver’’ eyes have been away from the road for approximately five seconds. If the driver does not respond, BlueCruise slows the vehicle down to 6 miles per hour, according to Consumer Report’s Active Driving Assistance Evaluation Report.

The same report said that Mercedes-Benz’s Driver Assistance and General Motors’ Super Cruise will bring the car to a full stop and initiate an emergency call if an inattentive driver doesn’t respond to requests to reengage.

Meanwhile, a new report released ahead of the Thanksgiving long weekend highlighted drowsy driving as another risky behavior requiring intervention.

The National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) 2023 Drowsy Driving Survey found that 1 in 6 teens reported operating a car while feeling tired. If survey results were scaled to represent the nation’s entire teenage population, it would mean 1.7 million teens have struggled to keep their eyes open while driving, NSF’s report said.

In the survey of 1,224 teenagers and 1,349 adults, who were randomly sampled in mid-September, the majority of those who drove drowsy said school or work obligations prevented them from being well-rested. Among adults, the situation was even worse, with 60% of respondents admitting to feeling sleepy at the wheel.

While nearly all of those surveyed agreed that driving while drowsy is risky, neither the adults nor teens felt it was more dangerous than drunk, drugged, or distracted driving, the report found.

However, NSF said the perception that drowsy driving is not as problematic as other bad habits isn’t necessarily rooted in truth.

“The estimated impact of drowsy driving is similar to the estimated impact of other well-known causes of impaired driving, including drunk driving,” it said in its report. “As such, it’s no surprise that drowsy driving is often called the ‘fourth D.’”

According to the AAA Foundation, sleepiness is attributed to more than one-fifth of all deadly vehicle crashes in the U.S. and 13% of accidents leading to hospitalizations. It said upward of 6,400 people are killed in U.S. crashes each year related to drowsy driving.


Featured image courtesy of martin-dm/iStock

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