Driver monitoring system using smart glasses enabled HCI interface
Smart Glasses: Monitoring driver behavior through computer vision and Human Computer Interface (HCI) that detect drowsiness and warn the driver is an increasingly popular technique under investigation in the mobility sector. Statistics reveal that drowsy drivers cause a high rate of accidents, and 20% of serious accidents arise from the failure of the driver’s judgement and their inability to control the vehicle in the drowsy state. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that deaths from road traffic crashes will have increased to 1.35 million in 2022. The report by WHO further shows that nearly 3,700 people die on roads every day.
Human-computer interaction (HCI)
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a paradigm that focuses on optimizing how users and computers interact by designing interactive computer interfaces that satisfy users’ needs. It encompasses various different domains, including but not limited to computer science, behavioral sciences, cognitive science, ergonomics, psychology, and design principles. The basic goal of the technology is to simplify and ease how we can interact with machines for a particular use case.
The complicated user interface, which can sometimes be hard to comprehend and interact with by a layman, can impede critical situations like drowsy or distracted driving. HCI ensures an easy interaction between the user and the computer in situations where every second counts. HCI is often case specific and is designed keeping in mind the application where it is going to be deployed and the users who will be actively interacting with it.
Recent advances in machine learning, deep learning, and visual analytics have energized scientists and industry leaders for the new generation of smart wearable devices to enhance humans’ cognitive capability and situational awareness and assist them in decision making. Scientists have already demonstrated the benefits of Augmented Reality (AR)-based smart glasses systems for military training, oil refinery training, nuclear plant maintenance, equipment status check for industrial services, facility management, asset management, enhancing surgeons’ vision, step-by-step guidance for assembly and manufacturing, learning enhancement for low-grade students by creating learn by design case studies and many more.
Smart glasses are the best option for wearable intelligent assistance systems as they can directly superimpose to the physical world critical scenarios. Two leading examples are Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens, while a few other rising smart glasses with advanced AR capability are ODG, Vuzix, and Epson Moverio. They are all equipped with all-around sensors to sense a user’s environment and 3D display.
In a driver monitoring system, the smart glasses can not only efficiently detect eye movements, monitor head position, and measure eyelid activity when compared to a camera installed inside the vehicle but can also be leveraged to display alarm signals in the case of an impending fatal situation.
Smart Glasses for Driver Safety
Smart glasses typically use optical see-through display technology to overlap the real-world and virtual environments. The virtual image is projected through the microdisplay into the lens when the algorithm on the device detects proximity to possible danger.
In addition to any impending danger, smart glass can display the vehicle’s current speed and road speed limits, place upcoming turn signals in the user’s field of view, alert the user to a detour due to road construction, or update the user’s arrival time.
BMW believes that its augmented reality driving glasses, currently a research prototype developed in partnership with AR glasses startup ODG, will enable motorists to see navigation details, speed, and other information overlaid onto a heads-up display. Additionally, the state-of-the-art in-vehicle IoT system will take care of their safety.
Startups like Commsignia are working to connect vehicles with each other and the smart city infrastructure, while AImotive is looking to make driving safer in all weather and driving conditions. Both are investigating the possibility of connecting real-time information to passengers wearing smart glasses.
AR smart glasses will send relevant content from a variety of automotive sensors, creating a seamless and groundbreaking experience for drivers. They will proactively alert the drivers in cases of drowsiness, fatigue, or distraction.
Inoptec claims to have developed the world’s first smart glass that consistently optimizes the light that reaches the human retina. They have adapted their technology platform to provide advanced applications such as glare suppression. At dusk/night, oncoming traffic, a low-lying sun (in winter) etc. cause glare that deteriorates/nullifies vision. Their glasses address all these problems, revealing details on a backlit object that would otherwise be invisible due to an oncoming dazzling light source (e.g., headlights).
Uncertainties and Challenges
The Ellcie-Healthy start-up is developing smart connected glasses, a wearable device designed for e-Health and driver safety applications that embeds a driver drowsiness detection application. As size and cost are critical, the capacity of the battery on this wearable device is very limited. Consequently, finding the best compromise between the autonomy of the system and its performance is challenging.Therefore, designers must perform early estimation of both the device’s power consumption and the application’s quality of service for a particular system configuration in the design flow.
With limited power and computation constraints, wearable smart devices do suffer from the drawback of not being efficient during long vehicular drives and could put the user at risk in vulnerable times.
The growing interest of various industries in IOT-based devices and their efficacy is sure to overflow into the realm of smart glass-based driver monitoring systems. Smartly connected vehicular networks would alleviate a lot of problems in the mobility sector, especially road accidents and fatalities for drivers. On the other hand, HCI provides a smooth interface for various user-based interactions, another rapidly growing domain. When customized for driver monitoring, it would surely benefit the consumers and would help in developing the industry manyfold.