What Are “Driver Monitoring Systems” in Cars – Review Geek

Dan Smith

Driver monitoring systems are advanced safety features that track the user's eyes, check for drowsiness and alertness, and warn drivers to keep their eyes on the road. More and more vehicles are equipped with Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) to help drivers focus their attention instead of falling asleep or being distracted by their smartphones. So what is this system and how does it work? Drivers these days are more distracted than ever. There is a false sense of security with smartphones, giant infotainment displays, lane assist, adaptive cruise control and hands-free driving. Drivers may not be keeping their eyes on the road too often while using these features, making it difficult to stay awake, alert, and attentive, no matter how much coffee they drink. There are cases. As such, we are beginning to see a major shift towards driver monitoring systems.Sometimes called Driver State Sensing (DSS) system. In fact, DMS systems can track eyelids to warn sleepy drivers and make roads a safer place.

What is a driver monitoring system?

Polestar 3 interior and steering wheel.
polar star
You'll hear a lot about Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) in 2023 and beyond, but what exactly are they? can track eyes, eyelids (drowsiness), head movements, and more. DMS systems don't just monitor drivers to make sure someone is paying attention. If you're not awake or unconscious, you'll be notified in a variety of ways. Although the technology is still relatively new, it is being installed in more and more vehicles, especially electric vehicles. Polestar, for example, plans to debut his state-of-the-art DMS system in the Polestar 3 electric SUV at his CES in January 2023. These surveillance systems are readily available in the commercial and fleet markets, but are gaining consumer attention from automakers and regulators. This is a mandate for Europe's future cars, and US Senators are working on a new bill. DMS systems are essential to the advancement of autonomous driving and self-driving technology.

How does it work?

Illustration of a sleeping driver.
DMS systems typically use a camera or sensor system mounted in the dashboard or rearview mirror to track the driver's eyes. Additionally, the monitoring software can instantly issue a warning or haptic vibration to alert the driver to return their attention to the road or to touch the steering wheel. Essentially, it's about making sure you're paying attention. If not, be careful. Some systems alert you to gauge clusters, infotainment displays, or steering wheel vibrations. In the future, head-up display notifications may be projected onto the windshield or otherwise displayed. This variant has been seen in Tesla's Autopilot and fully self-driving software. While using self-driving, the person behind the wheel may be asked to pay attention by touching the steering wheel. For example, GM's Super Cruise software on Chevrolet and GM vehicles has an optional DMS system that the owner can enable. It's a system that "detects the position of your head and eyes, alerts you to the road and prompts you to manually steer if necessary." While using Ford's BlueCruise and hands-free driving, the Elliptical Company's DMS system uses a driver-facing infrared camera above the steering column that monitors the driver's eye and head line-of-sight. Yes, I can see your eyes through sunglasses. Hands-free driving mode allows drivers to stay awake, pay attention and look ahead instead of their smartphone. Subaru has similar technology that uses cameras mounted on the vehicle to track the driver. Polestar goes one step further and believes its vehicles will be safer thanks to its smart-his-eye camera technology. The Polestar 3 DMS system has two "driver-monitoring closed-loop cameras," he said. These cameras can track the driver's head, eyelid movements, and other signs of distraction. The DMS system can sound warnings and send messages to the gauge cluster or infotainment display. “This technology addresses some of the major causes behind fatal crashes and can help save lives by encouraging drivers to refocus their attention on the road. , preventive measures can be initiated,” said Polestar's Thomas Ingenlath. CEO. These systems alert the driver and give him the opportunity to do so, but if the operator does not respond, the vehicle can issue an emergency stop function. Bring your car to a safe stop and stop automatically. It's important to note that most driver monitoring systems are only active during hands-free driving mode or other automated driving features that are slowly becoming mainstream. That said, the idea behind it is also great for normal driving, making sure no one is behind the wheel.

More than just holding the wheel

GM steering wheel monitoring system.
Many systems now allow a distracted driver to quickly place their hands on the steering wheel to signal to the vehicle that they are paying attention. In reality, their eyes could be in another location. Driver assistance software cannot be enabled if you are not paying attention. I've seen drivers cheat many of these systems. As such, facial recognition and AI aim to improve the system. It's too easy to put your hands on the steering wheel, so these systems have evolved to provide another way to keep the roads as safe as possible. The new system goes beyond checking the steering wheel to make sure someone is actually paying attention. Many current and future DMS systems scan and track eye movements. This is the next evolution in keeping our roads safe. This is not just to check for sleepy drivers, but to make sure they are looking ahead and paying attention to the road.

Future DMS system and autonomous driving

The car's sensors are checking its surroundings for collisions.
Keeping people safe on the road is the main purpose of driver monitoring systems, but that's just the beginning. We are starting to see advanced facial recognition and AI technology go one step further. In addition to keeping an eye on the road, some DMS systems can recognize individual drivers and tailor the experience to that user. For example, one day your car could scan your face and instantly adjust your seat, air conditioning, infotainment settings, side mirrors, and more. Then stay awake and alert while driving, keeping everyone on the road comfortable and safe. We've seen facial recognition on several Subaru models, but it's also on the Polestar 3, a new electric SUV. In Subaru Legacy and Outback with 'DriverFocus', the system enters a 'high sensitivity state' when the driver takes his eyes off the road for more than 3 seconds. It uses facial recognition and AI to allow cars to automatically correct themselves as needed to stay safe. For now, DMS is about keeping us safe on the road, but in the future, it can improve the in-vehicle experience and prevent dangerous accidents caused by distracted drivers. Then, as mentioned earlier, advanced driver monitoring systems will play a key role in ensuring that automated driving systems continue to alert drivers and are ready to act. Well, until fully self-driving cars take over.

Data collection and privacy

Man looking at phone while driving.
Nuad Contributor/Shutterstock.com
Privacy is very important in new technologies, especially those that use facial recognition and eye-tracking. A driver monitoring system should only be able to collect enough data to ensure that the driver's eyes and attention are on the road. Returning to Polestar 3 again, its DMS system features "two closed-loop cameras monitoring the driver." The company has ensured that all data collected from the cameras is on a closed loop and processed in real time inside the vehicle. Your data and facial information are not recorded or shared with the cloud. Additionally, Ford and GM say their systems do not share or transmit in-vehicle data or video outside the vehicle. Tesla also has a cabin camera that captures video, but the driver can choose whether or not to send that footage to Tesla.
Finally, if driver monitoring systems can prevent accidents, effectively save lives, and do so without violating privacy, it will be an important technology moving forward. That said, consumer vehicle driver monitoring systems are still in their infancy, and the technology may improve and evolve over time. For now, stay awake, pay attention, pay attention to the road, and consider a car with DMS technology next time you buy a car.