Eyesight Technologies’ DriverSense now detects phone usage and smoking while driving

Nov 22, 2019   Technology

Eyesight Technologies, an AI computer vision solutions leader, announced new features for the company’s DriverSense and FleetSense solutions to detect driver distraction as a result of cell phone usage and smoking. The new features will be added to the company’s existing distraction and drowsiness detection capabilities to further mitigate driver distractions and prevent accidents.

Responsible for 80% of all accidents on the road and 25% of accident-related fatalities, distracted driving has been described as the “new drunk driving.” While external factors can contribute towards accidents, the reality is that the most dangerous aspect of the driving experience is actually the driver.

The single greatest distraction to drivers, the use of cell phones accounts for 25% of all accidents and 14% of all fatal accidents on the road. According to an AT&T survey, 43% of teens and 49% of adults admit to texting while driving, so it’s no surprise that cell phone usage is the cause of 1.6 million accidents annually in the US alone. The same dangers hold true for cigarette smokers, as an independent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded, accidents were two to three times more likely as a result of smoking while driving.

Eyesight Technologies’ DriverSense driver monitoring system (DMS) analyses the driver’s facial features, including head pose, gaze vector, blink rate and eye openness to detect signs of drowsiness and distraction. The latest update increases the scope of the driver monitoring to extend beyond physical attributes of the driver to recognise driver actions, and can now detect the smoking of a cigarette and cell phone related distractions. The new capabilities enable car manufacturers to intelligently alert the driver based on the type of distraction detected; cell phone usage may trigger one type of alert while showing signs of drowsiness can trigger a more urgent response.

“There’s no greater distraction and danger on today’s road than mobile phones,” said David Tolub, CEO of Eyesight Technologies. “The average driver doesn’t realize that looking down at your phone to check a text is six times more likely to result in an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol. Our first priority is the safety of all people on the road, and eliminating the distraction created by our cell phones is a huge step towards a much safer road.”

In addition to road safety, Eyesight Technologies has seen that in the trucking industry detection of smoking goes beyond distraction mitigation. With hazmat shipments such as Oil & Gas, cigarette smoking is against the law and can be catastrophic. With 67% of long haul truckers in the US smoking cigarettes according to a study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, preventing smoking in the cabin during the transport of certain materials is a top priority for fleet managers. Eyesight Technologies’ FleetSense will enable fleet managers to receive real-time updates and set alerts for the presence of cigarette smoking during the transport of sensitive materials, improving upon old protocols of random inspections and manual monitoring of driver dash cams.

The feature will also have future applications in the shared car economy, eliminating the presence of smoking in communal cars, such as rentals and autonomous taxis where there are no drivers present to enforce policies.

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