Try Harman's Ready Care technology to help you drive smarter and safer

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Try Harman's Ready Care technology to help you drive smarter and safer

Safety technology is advancing rapidly, and some automakers are now envisioning an accident-free future. It remains a distant dream, but new technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives each year.

With that in mind, we recently stepped into a BMW equipped with Harman’s Ready Care technology at the North American International Auto Show. This vehicle doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once inside, it’s easy to tell that it’s something special.

In addition to the camera mounted on top of the instrument panel, this model was equipped with a detachable tablet that displayed Ready Care data. The crossover we rode in was primarily focused on showcasing the company’s Eyes and Mind on Road technology, which monitors the driver by looking at facial expressions, gaze, eyelid movements, and more. rice field.

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Driver monitoring cameras, which are becoming relatively common in vehicles with semi-autonomous driving systems, primarily focus on the driver’s line of sight to make sure he or she is paying attention to the road ahead. I’m here. Harman’s system is much more subtle, allowing for additional features, the biggest being the “cognitive distraction” feature.

Using data from cameras, advanced algorithms can determine if the driver is drowsy or distracted and respond accordingly. These reactions vary, but in theory, the system could increase the temperature and volume of the cabin to help the driver wake up and concentrate if he’s tired.

Similarly, if the driver is distracted, the system may reduce the volume or encourage them to pay attention to the road ahead.

Be Still My Beating Heart

One of the most interesting features is heart rate monitoring via camera. This is made possible thanks to remote photoplethysmography (try saying it three times faster) or rPPG for short. Harman officials say it’s very accurate and should improve over time.

Heart rate monitoring opens many new doors for safety and the potential to detect cardiac events before they occur. As we reported earlier this year, a team at the University of Michigan School of Medicine “was able to isolate a pattern that could accurately predict an arrhythmia about five minutes in advance. enough time to warn the driver of the medical team to assist.”

Combining these advances with semi-autonomous driving technology and telematics could enable truly revolutionary safety advances. In particular, if a future cardiac event is detected, the vehicle could pull over and automatically call emergency services. This not only prevents the driver from potentially becoming incapacitated, but also reduces emergency response time.

At a more basic level, the system could theoretically provide driver information to first responders after an accident. This makes it possible to measure the severity of the crash and the condition of the driver even before they arrive at the scene.

It’s a little ways off, but Ready Care has many benefits for automakers beyond improved safety. Key among them is a minimal sensor suite that keeps costs down and eases integration into the vehicle.

Ready Care is ready for deployment and can be used in vehicles with or without semi-autonomous technology, Harman said. As a result, the technology may soon begin to appear in mass-produced vehicles, but as the company points out, “Driver drowsiness and distraction are the leading causes of accidents and deaths.” cannot be realized.

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Live image credit: Michael Gauthier of CarScoops