Auto Companies Are Pushing for Ways To Make Sure Drivers Pay Attention

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After a recent deadly Tesla crash, federal lawmakers and auto companies are calling for the increased use of driver monitoring systems to improve car safety. Experts hope that we will start to see these systems installed in new cars.
According to Consumer Reports, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation that represents manufacturers wants better standards and ways to prevent drivers from losing focus. More and more car manufacturers are interested in building self-driving cars, and this raises concerns about how to make sure a driver is paying attention if things go wrong.
There are other things to consider like how to make sure driverless cars are safe and how this will affect the cost of car insurance in the future. For now, we can consider what makes driver inattention dangerous and how the monitoring systems will work.

Why is driver inattention dangerous?

If you’re not paying attention on the road you can miss signs of dangers and not react quick enough to potential hazards. The main issue with self-driving cars is that it can encourage you to be complicit behind the wheel.
As mentioned in Consumer Reports, the majority of automakers test driver engagement indirectly. The driver can simply apply a small amount of pressure on the steering wheel. Nissan and Volvo have automation systems but there needs to be better ways to make sure drivers are looking at the road.
Right now, these systems simply aren’t enough to make sure drivers are focused. That’s why auto companies are proposing camera-based driver monitoring.

How does a driver monitoring system work?

General Motors has a camera-based driver monitoring system that checks your head position and makes sure your eyes are on the road. This was tested by Consumer Reports and it even works if you have sunglasses on.
The capabilities of different driver assistance systems can be confusing. Depending on the level of autonomy, or self-driving, safety systems will probably have to be implemented differently.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation says that there should be increasing driver warnings for more autonomous vehicles. In addition, they should be able to do things like slow or stop you.
There is clear evidence that driver monitoring works and prevents distracted driving. It gives you more time to react to dangerous situations and makes sure you stay aware of the road.

Other considerations for improving driver safety

Car manufacturing companies like Volvo are considering linking your car to an on-call service that works as an emergency line if you’re in danger. For now, camera-based systems are a good start for improving car safety.
Once self-driving cars are on the market, you can expect more discussion about the ethics of having no driver and how to minimize risks.
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