Then it automatically adjusts the seat, mirrors and steering wheel to the ideal position. An infrared camera scans the driver’s face, comparing the data of the facial features with those stored in the database under a secret identity chosen by the driver.
In the current prototype tested by BMW, the system takes only five seconds to recognize the driver behind the wheel, comparing them with the entries in the data base.
The biggest challenge facing the engineers of the video-based system is changing light conditions such as dazzling sunlight from the side with shade falling onto the driver’s face. Minimizing such external factors is the biggest challenge before the system goes into production.
But BMW are not the only company working on the system. Citroën, Mercedes, Audi, and Volkswagen all have video systems available that recognise when a driver is falling asleep behind the wheel. A loud signal alerts the driver or the car seat and steering wheel start vibrating.
Car parts supplier Hella have a camera-based system, planned for release next year, that also monitors the position of the head, warning the driver when s/he is not paying attention to the road.