At the beginning of November 2022, Volvo will present its electric SUV EX90. The features a new safety system that can detect if drivers are tired, distracted, drunk, or otherwise out of shape.
The upcoming Volvo EX90 is the successor to the XC90 combustion SUV, one of the Swedish manufacturer’s bestsellers. In the EX90, Volvo will use a newly developed driver monitoring system that works with cameras in the interior. The company presented this in a press release on Thursday.
Volvo wants to minimize human error as a cause of accidents
Volvo has recognized that human error is one of the main causes of accidents and wants to react to it. The new driver monitoring system registers how the driver is doing – and intervenes if necessary.
“We observe where the driver is looking and how often and for how long their eyes are closed,” explains Emma Tivesten, safety expert at Volvo, adding: “This allows us to learn a lot about their current state of mind and health. Based on our research results, the sensor system recognizes whether the driver’s performance is impaired by drowsiness, distraction or other forms of inattention and offers additional help according to the situation.”
Cameras keep an eye on drivers
The monitoring system uses two cameras to observe drivers. It registers how long drivers look at the road – and if and when their gaze wanders.
If it is noticed that too few glances end up on the street, this can be a sign of distraction – for example from a smartphone. But staring too hard at the road can also be a warning sign.
Drivers may be mentally elsewhere or for other reasons not in a position to flexibly adjust to the traffic. In addition to the cameras, Volvo uses the capacitive steering wheel. This monitors the stability of the steering input and detects when the driver lets go of the steering wheel or do not hold it securely enough.
AI monitors the condition of the driver
According to Volvo, the new and patented system uses algorithms for real-time recognition of gaze patterns and steering behavior. The vehicle should be able to take appropriate support measures if necessary.
Initially, the EX90 leaves it at a simple acoustic warning signal, the volume of which increases with the potential danger of the situation. If the driver does not react to the increasingly clear warnings, the car should be able to stop independently at the side of the road and warn other road users by switching on the hazard warning lights.