Skip to main content

Bosch’s A.I.-powered tech could prevent accidents by staring at you

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Most cars sold new in 2019 are equipped with technology that lets them scope out the road ahead. They can brake when a pedestrian crosses the road in front of them, for example, or accelerate on their own when a semi passing a slower vehicle moves back into the right lane. Now, Bosch is developing artificial intelligence-powered technology that opens new horizons by teaching cars how to see what — and who — is riding in them. It sounds creepy, but it could save your life.

Bosch’s system primarily relies on a small camera integrated into the steering wheel. Facial-recognition technology tells it whether the driver is falling asleep, looking down at a funny video on a phone, yelling at the rear passengers, or otherwise distracted. Artificial intelligence teaches it how to recognize many different situations. The system then takes the most appropriate action. It tries to wake you up if you’re dozing off, and it reminds you to look ahead if your eyes are elsewhere. Alternatively, it can recommend a break from driving and, in extreme cases, slow down the car to prevent a collision.

Driver awareness monitoring systems are already on the market in 2019. Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology notably relies on one to tell whether the driver is paying attention, but Bosch’s solution is different because it’s being trained to recognize a wide variety of scenarios via image-processing algorithms. This approach is similar to how the German firm teaches autonomous cars to interpret objects around them. Real-world footage of drivers falling asleep (hopefully on test tracks, and not on I-80) shows the software precisely what happens before the driver calls it a night.

This technology can also keep an eye on your passengers. Thanks to a camera embedded in the rearview mirror, the system can keep an eye on the people riding in the back, and warn the driver if one isn’t wearing a seat belt. It can even detect the position a given passenger is sitting in, and adjust the airbags and seat belt parameters accordingly. Safety systems are designed to work when someone is sitting facing forward and upright, but that’s not always the case. If you’re slouching in the back seat (admit it, it happens), the last thing you want is the side airbag to become a throat airbag.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Smartphone connectivity plays a role here, too. The same mirror-mounted camera recognizes when a child is left in the back seat, and it automatically sends an alert to the driver’s smartphone. It notifies the relevant emergency services if the driver doesn’t come back after a predetermined amount of time.

Looking further ahead, when autonomous technology finally merges into the mainstream, this tech could tell the car if the driver is ready to take over. There’s no sense in asking someone to drive if they’re asleep, or if they’ve hopped over the driver’s seat to chill on the rear bench. Autonomy will come in increments, so it’s not too far-fetched to imagine a car capable of driving itself at freeway speeds, when the lane markings are clear, but not in crowded urban centers.

The footage captured by the cameras can’t be used against you or yours, according to Bosch, because it’s neither saved nor shared with third parties. Still, it’s a feature that will certainly raise more than a few concerns about privacy.

The technology could reach production in 2022, when European Union officials will make driver-monitoring technology mandatory in all new cars. Lawmakers hope the feature will save 25,000 lives and prevent at least 140,000 severe injuries by 2038. There’s no word yet on when (or whether) it will come to the United States. Bosch doesn’t make cars — it never has — so it’s up to automakers to decide whether it’s worth putting in their new models.

Editors' Recommendations

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
Clever new A.I. system promises to train your dog while you’re away from home
finding rover facial recognition app dog face big eyes

One of the few good things about lockdown and working from home has been having more time to spend with pets. But when the world returns to normal, people are going to go back to the office, and in some cases that means leaving dogs at home for a large part of the day, hopefully with someone coming into your house to let them out at the midday point.

What if it was possible for an A.I. device, like a next-generation Amazon Echo, to give your pooch a dog-training class while you were away? That’s the basis for a project carried out by researchers at Colorado State University. Initially spotted by Chris Stokel-Walker, author of YouTubers:How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars, and reported by New Scientist, the work involves a prototype device that’s able to give out canine commands, check to see if they’re being obeyed, and then provide a treat as a reward when they are.

Read more
KEF’s Uni-Core tech could finally mean an end to big-box subwoofers
KEF Uni-Core tech

It resembles the cross-section for a turbine jet engine, but what you're looking at is British audio company, KEF's latest speaker innovation, which it calls Uni-Core. It's a new architecture for subwoofers that could pave the way for much smaller enclosures without sacrificing any of the powerful, low-end bass home theater enthusiasts demand.

Uni-Core uses two dual force-canceling drivers with concentrically arranged, overlapping voice coils, that are driven by a single motor to provide what KEF claims is stunning bass performance from a small enclosure. The horizontally-opposed design is highly reminiscent of Devialet's Heart Bass Implosion technology, which it uses to extract unholy amounts of low-frequency sound from its Phantom line of speakers. Some of the Phantoms are small enough to fit in your hand.

Read more
This outrageous massage chair has A.I voice control and blackout-proof power
bodyfriend quantum massage chair bang and olufsen ces 2021

Self-driving cars and 100-inch TVs might capture the headlines, but any tried-and-true CES veteran can tell you that the highlight of every show is the insane massage chairs that show up every year.

The destressing devices are generally more tricked out than anything that ever appeared on Pimp My Ride. And this year, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more loaded than Bodyfriend’s Quantum.

Read more