Monitoring Driver Awareness with AI

The Future is Here . . . Almost

“Soon” is the word often echoed when people ask when self-driving cars will be the norm. It’s only natural that there would be some anticipation; self-driving cars allow us to talk, text, or even read a book while “driving,” or order an extra drink at dinner and know, confidently, that you have a safe ride home. While self-driving cars are still in the early stages of development, many cars on the road have special features that assist with driving–especially for monitoring driver awareness.

The implementation of additional safety features to keep a driver alerted are already showing promising results. Tesla, for example, is reporting a 4x lower accident rate for drivers with Autopilot engaged (Q2 2021 data).  The data shows one crash for every 4.41 million miles driven in which drivers were using Autopilot technology (Autosteer and active safety features), versus one crash for every 1.2 million miles driven by a driver not using these features. To compare with less tech-rich cars, NHTSA’s most recent report shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 484,000 miles. While not all cars can auto steer, they can help you stay in your lane and have can help regulate car speed with cruise control.

There’s Safety in Numbers Data

Almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds of the event. High-quality training data is vital to reduce that 80%. Ensuring the model is trained correctly is what makes it so these Tesla cars have a 4x lower accident rate. If poor quality data trains the model and no additional testing is done to verify the model functions as intended, then chances are there will be a lot of accidents on the road. It would put the model as no better than an impaired driver.

What is AI Driver Monitoring Technology?

This technology, at its core, is an advanced monitoring system that changes its actions based on what the driver is or isn’t doing. This is done by machine learning algorithms analyzing camera data in real-time to monitor if a driver is paying attention to the road or is distracted by something else going on in the car. The technology can work with traditional, 3D, or infrared cameras for seeing in the dark. The AI system can recognize if a driver is distracted, on the phone, asleep, or participating in a conversation with someone else in the vehicle. While these different driver monitoring technologies work in various ways; most have some sort of a warning system. If the driver is distracted and needs to take control of the car, the driver will be alerted through vibrations, a noise, or other methods.

Benefits of AI Driver Monitoring

Thanks to AI driver monitoring, cars can now detect:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • If delivery drivers follow company rules

We’ve all been there–out all day working, running errands, attending an event. After a long day, exhaustion kicks in but we still have to drive home. As the driver, you have a few choices: take a nap, call a friend or ride service, or just try and power through to get home sooner. More than 100,00 car accidents occur each year as a result of drowsy driving. With cars now monitoring for drowsiness, a driver can be alerted to pull over if they become too sleepy. Furthermore, the car can also change the temperature, increase the radio volume, or vibrate the steering wheel to get the driver’s attention and help prevent an accident caused by fatigue.

Cars can implement the same measures and suggestions for others when a driver isn’t drowsy but is possibly distracted, either from talking on the phone, with a passenger in the car, dealing with an upsetting life event, or otherwise impaired from alcohol and other means.

Companies will no longer have to have the “how’s my driving stickers” on the back of their vehicles. With AI monitoring technology, the car can monitor and evaluate if the driver is obeying traffic rules and any company specific restrictions as well. This monitoring system can be used by those companies to reduce their liability coverage and insurance costs. The safer their drivers, the lower their costs.

Interfacing is Key

AI driver monitoring technology is being used to make our roads safer by interpreting what’s happening with the driver and interfacing with driver assistance technology. If the AI model notices that the driver is impaired or distracted in any way, it can turn on the driver assistance technology to make sure the driver and vehicle remain safe, ensuring that no one else is endangered.

While driverless cars are still a thing of the future, AI driver monitoring technology is here right now. And, has numerous benefits and uses that can help make our roads safer and easier for those who do it professionally, and for those who feel anxious or angry while driving. By monitoring a driver’s focus, this technology can be used to turn on other driver assistance technology that will help an impaired or distracted driver to get to their destination safely and ensure no accidents happen while they’re on the road.

What can Appen Do For You

We provide data annotation and collection services founded on over 25 years of experience. Our intelligent annotation platform offers cutting-edge tools that enable you to acquire high-quality training data.

Our multimodal computer vision ML-assisted tools help you launch world-class AI, whether you are building driver awareness monitoring tools or something else. Our platform and services enable high precision and speed, so you can scale quickly, knowing you’re equipped with large volumes of high-quality, annotated data.

Learn more about our platform or contact us today to speak with someone directly.

Website for deploying AI with world class training data
Language