Wanna Stop Distracted Driving? Make Cars That Watch Their Humans

That’s why Karray’s team created a prototype system that uses cameras—both Microsoft Kinect cameras and simple dashcams, mounted in a variety of locations on a simulated dashboard—to detect hand movements and algorithms to then grade them on how likely they are to put the driver in danger. That takes into account the act itself and its context, including the car’s speed, location, and driving conditions. Chatting on the phone while cruising on an empty highway may not be a huge problem. Reaching into the backseat while zipping down a busy boulevard probably is. If the system’s adequately alarmed, the car can give the driver an audio or visual warning. In the near-future, depending on how autonomous tech advances, the car could even take over control.