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CES: Facial recognition software takes next step

Smile, you’re on camera: The FZI facial recognition system uses a camera in the instrument cluster to determine the driver’s fatigue and stress levels, among other moods.

German research institute develops software capable of detecting driver’s state

29 Dec 2017

GERMAN institute FZI Research Centre for Information Technology will use the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month to debut new facial recognition technology, which can detect and monitor a driver’s vital parameters.

Based on a project dubbed ‘Camera-based driver state monitoring’, a prototype has been developed that uses a camera inside the vehicle to continually measure factors such as the driver’s heart and blink rate, head pose and emotions.

Using only a stock webcam for the camera, the system is able to automatically recognise facial areas and determine the driver’s fatigue and stress levels using image and signal processing algorithms.

It can also determine the driver’s attentiveness and excitement levels, and can do so without the use of sensors and special lighting.

FZI researcher Timon Blocher said that it would allow for better communication between car and driver.

“In this way, we gain a comprehensive and constantly updated picture of the driver state,” he said.

“Thus, we are able to improve the interaction between the driver and the vehicle.”

The technology will be able to be used in conjunction with other driver aids such as fatigue warning, distraction warning and emergency brake systems to provide a safer and more predictable driving experience on the roads.

FZI is a non-profit institution for applied research in IT and technology transfer, with the research largely carried out by students looking to gain information for their respective doctorates, with findings shared with businesses and public institutions.

Research teams are led by professors and aim to develop prototype concepts, software, hardware and system solutions.

It is unclear whether FZI is currently working with any car-makers on the facial recognition software.

At last year’s CES show, both Chrysler and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) presented facial recognition technologies, however both were based on using facial recognition to set driver preferences.

The Chrysler system, which it said hopes to be brought to market by 2020, can scan a driver’s face and set that driver’s profile preferences and driving parameters.

The JLR system is used for drivers to gain access to the car using facial recognition, similar to unlocking a new iPhone with the same technology.

CES begins in Las Vegas on January 7.

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