In modern automobiles, electronic periphery detection has become increasingly complex. Driver assistance systems can already today recognize dangerous situations and help prevent potential accidents. The next step in the evolution of the completely safe car is now being driven forward by eye-tracking technology.
Every moment counts.
The eye perceives about 90 percent of traffic-related information. With eye-tracking technology this data can be used to control cars even more safely. Cameras scan the driver’s eye movements, analyze what is being seen and instantly evaluate the collected data.
An actual example: Opel is working on a system that will direct and allocate light according to where the driver is looking. The motors that control headlights react immediately and simultaneously – horizontally as well as vertically. This so-called “situational lighting” will go into production already in 2016. Tired drivers can also be protected from themselves, thanks to eye tracking. After all, one in five accidents are caused by excessive fatigue, according to estimates from the Germany Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (Deutschen Gesellschaft für Schlafforschung und Schlafmedizin - DGSM). Observation of the eyes – are they open or shut, how quick or slowly do they close, what are they turning towards – can give a timely indication of the dreaded “falling asleep at the wheel” scenario and save lives.
Even existing assistance systems can be optimized thanks to eye tracking. In order not to overload or distract the driver with too much information, the driver’s awareness of the situation can first be analyzed based on what he or she is viewing. Because the eyes are the best indicator of a driver’s attention. Where exactly is she looking? How likely is it, that he correctly estimates the traffic situation? The system can analyze these questions almost in real time, then decide on the need for a warning – or possibly leave the driver alone.
Eye-tracking technology also plays an important role in the development of head-up displays (HUDs). By recording and analyzing eye movements for each type of car, the ideal position for modern cockpit displays can be found – an important step against driver distraction caused by the conventional clutter of instruments. HUDs that project information such as speed, warning messages or navigational arrows within the driver’s field of vision on the windscreen are still not widespread in the private sector. But soon, experts agree, they will be a standard tool in every new car.
Other application fields of eye-tracking technology are already planned. It is conceivable, for example, that in the future eyes will be able to control the entire head-up display in a car. New eye-control systems promise that the driver can, among other things, change the radio station or call up traffic information by looking a little longer at certain points in his field of vision.
Whatever the future brings, one thing is certain: The eye is a travel companion – and solutions from CDA will be on board. For over 10 years we’ve been intensively engaged with the production of so-called micro-optics, which can act on a diffractive or refractive basis. Eye-tracking systems generally work with lighting in the near-infrared range, such as LEDs or laser diodes. DOEs or multi-lens arrays, among others, are used to exactly distribute the light. The design and production of such lenses are the core competencies of CDA – from layout and prototypes to series production. Even complete lighting modules, that is, the illumination source, housing and optics, are available from us as a complete package.
Would you like to learn more about eye tracking and CDA‘s micro-optical products? Here you can find further information:
Or contact Pia Harju, Manager µFunctional Solutions, directly: