Jaguar Land Rover has revealed they are developing a number of new high-tech safety systems which aim to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers who are distracted, stressed or not concentrating on the task at hand.
As part of the Sixth Sense project, JLR is developing a Mind Sense system which will attempt to read the driver's brainwaves to determine if they're feeling tired or distracted and even whether they're daydreaming. If an issue is detected, the system could vibrate the steering wheel and pedals to alert them. If they fail to respond, the system could take additional measures to ensure the driver's safety.
Since a headband full of sensors would be impractical in a vehicle, JLR is investigating using sensors embedded in the steering wheel to monitor the driver's brainwaves. However, the signals would have to be amplified and filtered since the sensors are so far away from the driver's brain.
Besides playing a psychic, JLR is exploring the possibility of using a medical-grade sensor in the driver's seat to monitor their well-being. It would monitor the driver's breathing and heartbeat to ensure they're in proper shape to drive. The sensor could also detect the onset of a sudden or serious illness and prepare accordingly in the event the driver becomes incapacitated.
The company has also developed a Predictive Infotainment Screen prototype which uses cameras to track the driver's hand movements and predict which button they intend to push. This would allow drivers to 'push' a button in mid-air which will minimize the time they're taking their eyes off the road to look at the infotainment screen.
In a statement, JLR Research and Technology boss Dr Wolfgang Epple said "We believe some of the technologies currently being used in aerospace and medicine could help improve road safety and enhance the driving experience. The car is becoming more intelligent and more able to utilize cutting-edge sensors. These research projects are investigating how we could exploit this for the benefit of our customers and other road users."