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Car technology is becoming more modern and more convenient in the auto market. What started as something simple like connecting a phone via Bluetooth to make and receive calls or texts eventually branched out to apps like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and smart speaker integration. One set of features that continues to grow and evolve is safety. Amongst technology like advanced and automatic safety systems, cameras that can keep an eye on driver and passenger health via biometrics and face scans has been growing in popularity. According to new European Regulations on care safety, such systems will be mandatory. That’s good news for Smart Eye, the developer of a Driver Monitoring System used by several automakers in the industry. Lately, the company has been working on the integration of their technology into software-defined vehicles to make it more available to the masses.
Software-defined vehicles (SDVs)? What are those? The Hyundai Motor Group, parent group of Kia, discussed SDV technology in 2022. The initial idea was to create a living digital space where consumers could bring their social media and internet lives with them. Now that automakers are trying to find more ways to connect to their consumers and offer high levels of personalization, SDVs are becoming more popular. A great example of SDVs come from the Kia Corp, using over-the-air updates to add new features automatically, as well as opening up a digital shop that allows consumers to download apps and driving capabilities based on their needs, such as ambient light patterns and colors, or a Highway Driving Pilot (level 3 autonomy) app.
This is the type of in-cabin automotive technology popping up, and as SDV popularity expands, Smart Eye wants to make occupant monitoring systems as common as airbags and seat belts. With the ability to update an SDV via OTA, placing an occupant monitoring system wouldn’t require automakers to produce new models with this technology, nor would it require consumers to bring their vehicle to a dealership to install new software. With OTA updates, once the software is ready, a car can download the system and start working immediately. There are already some great examples of occupant monitoring systems in cars today, such as rear-seat occupancy alert, driver attention warning systems that can detect if a driver is drowsy or distracted, and facial recognition software that can rate the attitude of the driver. According to Smart Eye CEO Martin Krantz, occupant monitoring systems are simply a part of in-cabin safety evolution.
"I think you have to look at this like seat belts: First they came in a few cars in the '50s, and then every car had then in the '70s…The airbag came in a few cars in the '80s, and in the '90s every car had them. Now every car has cameras looking out; soon they will all have cameras looking in." – Krantz
Smart Eye already works with several automakers, including Audi, BMW, GM, Volvo, and Polestar. European regulations are really pushing the envelope for occupant monitoring systems in vehicles. Set to go into effect in 2024 and 2026, the new regulations require new vehicles to have intelligent speed assistance sensors (Smart and adaptive cruise control), a camera or reverse detection systems (parking assist), driver drowsiness and distraction warning systems, emergency stop signals (forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking), and event data recorders. Smart Eye has already updated its software to meet all of these requirements, making it a strong player in the future of SDVs and automotive safety.
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