While some car manufacturers already offer systems which can alert drivers who are dozing off, the feature is rare, and tends to be quite expensive when offered. Now, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology have developed the Eyetracker, which provides this functionality at a lower cost and can be installed in any car. The Eyetracker’s cameras track the driver’s eyes, and the system will sound an alert if it determines that the driver is falling asleep.
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There is also another benefit: The system does not require a PC or a laptop. “What we have developed is a small modular system with its own hardware and programs on board, so that the line of vision is computed directly within the camera itself. Since the Eyetracker is fitted with at least two cameras that record images stereoscopically – meaning in three dimensions – the system can easily identify the spatial position of the pupil and the line of vision,” according to Husar. The information is fed out through a standard interface. This way, the Eyetracker can be connected directly to the car’s trip computer.