Your car could, in the near future, put the brakes on your tendency to pick up your phone while driving and text your friends. New research from the University of Waterloo has produced algorithms that use cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) to detect distracted driving. The camera monitors your head and face positions and works its magic. The study builds on the already extant algorithms that can tell if a driver is tired by monitoring blink patterns, yawns and other giveaways. The researchers are aiming for the software to be integrated into cars so that you can stop putting yourself and others at risk. This could be via warnings, or eventually, by the car taking the controls over.
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Distracted driving in specific and human error in general are considered the biggest reasons for vehicluar accidents and injuries. And apart from other gains, the elimination of human error is one of the reasons why more and more vehicles are slowly inching towards fully autonomous driving. Autonomy is divided into levels and the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers one level of autonomy, for instance, while the new Audi A8 steps up to another level altogether.
But until such software reaches full maturity - where the occupants need not concern themselves with the car and driving it at all, software like this will be the way to prevent distracted driving from taking lives. The Waterloo researchers say that the vehicle running their software would be capable of taking over the control of the car for a limited period of time if needed to prevent imminent danger from culminating into an actual incident.
Further reading: University of Waterloo News