The (near) future of driving: Cars that watch you watch them steer

That development carries promise and peril. Decades of research make clear that humans aren’t good at paying attention in that way. The auto industry’s answer: systems that monitor us to make sure we’re monitoring the car.

Such systems, usually relying on a driver-facing camera that monitors eye and head movements, already have been deployed in tens of thousands of long-haul trucks, mining trucks and heavy construction vehicles, mainly to recognize drowsiness, alcohol or drug use, and general distraction.

Some new automobile models can already be purchased with option packages that include monitoring systems, usually as part of driver-assist features such as lane keeping and automated cruise control. They include cars from General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Tesla, Subaru, Nissan and Volvo.