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Automated Vehicles: One Eye on the Road, Another on You

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Googles self-driving car can see moving objects like other cars in real time.

Self-driving cars will need to ensure drivers are not so distracted that they cannot take control of the vehicle quickly if necessary.

Credit: The Linux Foundation

The importance of tracking motorist behavior will grow as more automated vehicles are rolled out, especially as it relates to the issue of assigning liability in accidents.

In situations in which drivers are not controlling the car, it is vital to ensure they are not too distracted to regain control if necessary, and to ascertain who is at fault if something does go wrong. Making sure drivers do not become too relaxed is a key issue and the Mercedes S-Class, for example, can monitor driver attention via the steering wheel, detecting whether their hands have been removed, and sensing drift.

There is evidence to suggest the introduction of increasingly sophisticated automation in motor vehicles will alter driving habits, with Google X's Astro Teller saying his company's latest prototype car eliminates pedals and steering wheels because drivers of earlier versions quickly became complacent.

To be used in traffic jams next year is an automated driving system from Audi, which will watch the driver from a dashboard camera that tracks eye position and other behavior. Audi's Thomas Mueller says the company plans to meld digital distractions, such as smartphone alerts, with a vehicle's infotainment system, so they can be more easily blocked if a driver suddenly needs to resume driving.

From Technology Review
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