Volvo has turned its attention to driver personalities in its constant pursuit of perfect road safety, announcing research into new ‘driver sensor’ technologies.
The new project means your Volvo could soon ‘get to know you’, giving the on-board safety systems a better chance of recognising if you’re currently fit to drive.
The sensors are placed on the dashboard, and can detect if the driver is tired or inattentive, whether their eyes are closed and what they are currently looking at.
The technology uses small LEDs which illuminate the driver with infrared light that is just outside the wavelengths of human sight, so the driver is not distracted by the system.
“This will enable the driver to be able to rely a bit more on their car, and know that it will help them when needed,” Volvo’s Per Landfors said.
“Since the car is able to detect if a driver is not paying attention, safety systems can be adapted more effectively. For example, the car’s support systems can be activated later on if the driver is focused, and earlier if the driver’s attention is directed elsewhere."
Some of Volvo’s current safety systems, such as Lane Keeping Aid, Collision Warning with fully automatic braking and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist will all benefit from the additional information.
The system can also adjust interior and exterior lighting, depending on the driver’s current requirements, and even adjust the seat to a driver’s preferred position as soon as it recognises who is behind the wheel.
A key focus of the research is the autonomously-driven future, for which Volvo is pushing harder than most.
If a driver becomes too tired to control the vehicle themselves, the autonomous systems can take over and the journey can continue.
No word yet from Volvo on when driver sensors may make their way into road-going models.