As self-driving cars enter the market, it will be important to monitor the well-being and health of the “driver” and passengers. Semiconductors specialist Infineon has developed a radar-based passengers monitoring system that could save lives.
Autonomous vehicles are equipped with a variety of sensors to monitor their surroundings. Ultrasonic sensors detect nearby obstacles (e.g. when parking), while radar detects objects further away.
The next step focuses on the passenger cabin. Infineon Technologies, a spin-off of Siemens AG, has just developed an “In-Cabin Monitoring System” capable of detecting small anomalies in the human occupants of autonomous vehicles. Infineon used the expertise of Bitsensing, a South Korean start-up specializing in radar imaging technology, and Caaresys, an Israeli start-up.
The solution is based on two subsystems: the first (Driver Monitoring System – DMS) is responsible for monitoring the driver’s behavior, while the second focuses on the passengers (Occupant Monitoring System – OMS). The two subsystems can be autonomous with independent sensors or integrated into a centralized management system.
By analyzing people’s behavior and movements of the eyelids, facial expressions, and heart rates, the cameras and sensors of the Driver Monitoring System – DMS can alert the emergency services if the system detects symptoms of discomfort or any health-related issues.
The Occupant Monitoring System – OMS concept is relatively new compared to other driver monitoring systems. The system can also alert when children or animals are accidentally left behind, or when passengers have fallen asleep. The solution also uses sensors to check whether seat belts are properly fastened and whether airbags and heating systems are working properly.
Considering that most Americans spend a lot of their time in their cars such a system would be of great importance to their health as it may end up detecting a medical condition that would have been otherwise gone unnoticed.
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