Driver Monitoring System 102

Date: October 23, 2020

Author: Anchal Pandey

Considering the increasing number of cars on the road, the growing demand for ADAS might come as no surprise!

Most of the passengers meet with accidents either due to distraction from driving, especially at night. Many automakers are offering driver monitoring system that monitors the driver irrespective of the lighting conditions to reduce such incidents.

Let’s learn about what goes inside the development of a driver monitoring system.

What constitutes a Driver Monitoring Solution?

Most of driver monitoring systems use RGB or Infrared sensors. The solution has a charged couple device camera with Infrared LED detectors placed on the steering column or rear-view mirror which tracks the eye gaze and head movement of the driver along with other parameters.

Driver Drowsiness

Fig. Drowsy driving

The system alarms the driver with audio or visual alerts to keep their eye on the road.

What are the key considerations during the development and incorporation of DMS into the vehicles?

Usually, designing a system for a controlled environment is somewhat easy. The light source is calibrated for optimum image quality; there are no limits to power consumption or thermal dissipation.  You might think that the vehicle’s interior is a controlled environment, and it’s the only area to consider, but that’s not the case. The following points have to be kept in mind before developing a DMS.

Accuracy takes the first place. DMS should measure what it is intended to measure and keep false positives/negatives to a minimum.

The hardware and software should require the least maintenance. If the system is inconsistent or requires regular calibration, the driver may be less likely to trust and use the system. An ideal DMS will work on any internal conditions such as temperature, ambient lighting, high noise, and external conditions such as time of day, bad weather, varying highway geometry, etc.

The system should also adapt to various physical characteristics design including demographic features, physical features and visual needs (eyeglasses or contact lenses). The calibration should be simple and quick to implement. The solution should have the ability to gather data continuously in real time to serve its intended purpose. Noticeable delays in issuing warnings can reduce the intended protection afforded by the system.

Also, the OEMs try to change the vehicle’s design to introduce new concepts and enhance the driver’s comfort. Hence, it’s a challenge to create a product that can adapt to these changes.

As a result, DMS must be designed to provide good quality images, even in low light conditions. The camera position should have the ease of installing at various positions such as the A-pillar, rear-view mirror, or steering column depending on the need. The product can be either a stand-alone design or can be integrated with other systems.

Most importantly, the DMS must be ASIL certified since the solution is linked to safety-critical ADAS and autonomous driving functions.

Why Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) rating?

One of the most essential features of a driver monitoring system is driver gaze and eye-tracking. The image sensors used in driver monitoring systems are expected to have a set of features required to achieve ASIL- B certification.

The first question that comes to mind is, why do we need an ASIL certification in the first place? What ASIL rating is required to meet the current and future needs?

It’s simple. The higher the ASIL certification, the better.

Since image sensors or sensors, in general, have a long-life cycle in the automotive industry, it’s better to stay ahead in the market trend. In applications that have more crucial functions related to safety, higher ASIL certification is preferred.

Moreover, since development, verification, and maintenance result in high costs, a higher safety rating increases the ROI while incurring no area or margin penalties.

Ideally, ASIL B, C is the ideal rating for DMS since it is used as a safety feature. During an accident or critical failure, the DMS is expected to be functional to alert the driver.

To have such a rating, the sensors should ensure that the image is free of noise, mirror, pixel defects, row or column defects.  The system must include safeguards to make sure that the algorithm can trust the image.

What is the future of DMS?

The developed countries have a greater number of premium and luxury cars as compared to the developing ones. Due to this, they have a large market for DMS. However, with the rising demand for luxury cars in developing countries, things are changing now.

India has joined the league of other regulatory bodies. Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment program employs a star system to rate the vehicle safety. Various countries have NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) to evaluate new automobile designs for performance under various safety threats. These NCAPs are recommending DMS and offering growth opportunities for the product.  DMS market is currently dominated by Europe and followed by North America, but soon there will be a rising demand in the rest of the continents, and solutions with higher ratings will lead the market in the future.

Hence, there is no doubt that soon driver monitoring system will be a standard feature in all of the cars. If you are interested in knowing more about such a system, please connect with us at marcom@pathpartnertech.com or visit us here.

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