A growing number of technology companies, automakers and fleet operators are developing semi-autonomous and autonomous research fleets. Testing automated vehicles on public roads is critical for effective research and development, but testing brings clear risks to the general public. In most cases human backup-drivers are employed during the testing phase to help assure safe operation of the vehicle at all times.
The US National Transportation Safety Board also recommended in 2017 that driver monitoring systems should be installed when testing autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles in order to enhance safety and minimise accidents related to fatigue, dwindling attention or distraction on the part of the backup-driver.
Seeing Machines in response to this and anticipating the clear demand from the broadening deployment of semi-autonomous and autonomous research vehicles has launched a retrofit driver monitoring system for autonomous vehicles.
Named “Guardian Backup-driver Monitoring System” and abbreviated as “Guardian BdMS” is designed to ensure that the backup-driver in a self-driving research vehicle is alert, aware and ready to take control of the driving task whenever necessary.
Seeing Machines that designs AI-powered operator monitoring systems to improve transport safety has also signed an agreement with one customer and is in advanced discussions with a number of companies at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development.
The primary function of the camera-based Guardian BdMS system is to track the backup-driver’s face and eyes during on-road automated or semi-automated vehicle testing, report driver state information (e.g. on-road, or off-road attention state), and identify distraction events of increasing severity (e.g. insufficient driver attention to the road scene).
The Guardian BdMS leverages Seeing Machines’ automotive-grade FOVIO driver monitoring technology in a convenient retrofit system for SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Level 3 (“eyes off”) to Level 5 (“driver off”) test vehicle fleets.