Harman hopes its new tech will end up in tons of new cars from many different brands.
Soon, your Honda Civic will read your face to know if you're paying attention. Your Range Rover will do the same. For those in the good seats, your Rolls will read your chauffeur's face to know if he's paying attention. All of these situations stem from one company's new system of safety assists.
Harman calls it "Ready Care." It's a platform for OEMs like Honda, Land Rover, and Rolls-Royce to use to develop the next generation of safety systems. It's comprised of three key features: "Eyes and Mind on Road," "Stress-free Routing," and personalized experiences through machine learning.
That last part is how Harman's new system will read your face (or that of your driver, if you're wealthy enough). Harman says that Ready Care is also the only system that measures both driver eye activity and driver state of mind. An IR camera will watch the driver's face to provide data on "real-time data into facial expressions, eye gaze, eyelid openings and more."
On top of that, Harman's Cognitive Distraction feature will measure "cognitive load." Harman says that it measures "when the driver is mentally distracted and can initiate multiple and simultaneous in-cabin vehicle intervention responses." Harman's system will also separate driving tasks from other distractions to help keep you focused on the road.
Harman takes the term "stress-free" literally with its routing software, which will redirect you to make your drive less stressful. That can include routing you around that annoying traffic jam that always happens in the same spot on your daily commute. Or, it can direct you around bad weather, like a hailstorm, to ensure that a driver's stress levels don't spike too much.
Harman doesn't say how specifically the software will be able to read stress levels, but we doubt it'll be by measuring your cortisol levels. Instead, we hypothesize that the same machine learning system will "read" your face for signs of stress.
Finally, the system will use machine learning to create "personalized intervention strategies" that will be tailored to a driver and the way they drive. Harman has said that the interventions will be able to integrate any function that a third party or OEM wants. For example, your car will put the hazards and brakes on if it detects you're asleep at the wheel. The system is obviously highly customizable, and it'll be interesting to see how different brands integrate this system with models across their lineups.