The car technology that could stop drivers from looking at their phones
FINALLY, someone has invented in-car technology that could stop drivers being distracted by mobile phones.
A car that beeps and flashes an internal warning to drivers who aren’t watching the road is now on sale in Australia in select vehicles.
A hidden infra-red LED camera in the dash of the new Subaru Forester wagon can detect when the driver is getting drowsy or glancing at their phone. The technology is so effective it can determine if the driver is discreetly looking down at their lap.
Subaru says the technology checks several factors such as face orientation and blinking intervals and studies driver behaviour so closely it can even tell if someone is trying to trigger a false warning.
For now the technology is exclusive to three of four variants in the new Subaru Forester range, from $39,990 to $45,990 drive-away.
However, it could eventually appear in Toyota and Holden cars in the future because the same technology is used overseas by Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus and General Motors’ flagship marque Cadillac.
In the dearer versions of the Subaru the infra-red camera can also be used to recognise the faces of up to five drivers — and automatically adjust seat and mirror positions when they get behind the wheel.
For now, though, the focus is on driver distraction but there is one catch. It is still up to the driver to respond to the warning.
“The hope is that once people realise just how much their eyes may not be on the road — by getting a warning each time they are distracted — that they will change their behaviour,” says Goran Popov, senior product manager at Subaru Australia.