Accelerating towards a society of automated vehicles.
Monitoring drivers to gain deeper understanding.

Driving the Future of Mobility

The futuristic concept of fully automated vehicles lies in imagining such conveyances as “transportable rooms” that allow drivers to truly relax and enjoy the ride. This conception will very soon become reality. OMRON is fully dedicated to developing technologies for a fully-automated driving environment.

Driver Monitoring for a Fully-automated Driving Environment

Automated driving is just around the corner. However, a fully-automated driving environment is still in the distant future. There are several stages to achieving fully-automated driving. Currently, applications at “level 2 (partial) automation” are growing rapidly, yet safety and responsibility still lie with the driver.
At level 2, there is a need for technological solutions to determine the driver’s awareness in monitoring the automated vehicle in motion and to take measures in accordance with the driver’s actions. OMRON is accelerating its focus on the human driver and developing such driver monitoring technologies.

Safety First: Monitoring the Driver’s Actions and Condition

Driver monitoring is not only for the future. The number of driver-induced accidents are on the rise now. Accidents among the elderly have increased over three-fold the past 20 years, and illness-induced accidents went up 2.8 times over the past decade. The goal of OMRON’s driver monitoring technology is to prevent accidents through real-time driver awareness and condition analysis and warning.

A Brighter Future with OMRON’s Driver Monitoring Technology

OMRON’s Driver Monitoring Technology Features

Driver awareness and condition detection require cutting-edge sensing technologies with data analysis and accident- prediction capabilities. OMRON has combined their proven AI/deep-learning technologies in sensors, 3D measurement, and precision facial recognition (OKAO) to develop their latest driver monitoring technology. Intensive development will soon allow the system to autonomously determine the driver’s recovery time and safe-driving condition even in an environment without network connectivity. The instruments are currently undergoing significant miniaturization and weight reduction engineering for such vehicle applications.

1.Driver condition recognition

It was once only possible to understand the “current condition” of the driver using pre-existing technology. OMRON’s driver monitoring, however, autonomously develops insight and predicts the “future condition” of the driver through detecting changes in the driver’s ongoing condition.
For example, drivers experiencing extreme drowsiness can only stop their cars on the side of the road and take a break to avoid accidents. Warnings given prior to a driver noticing drowsiness (for example, through air, sound, or vibration) allows the driver to keep driving safely while receiving preferable countermeasures to alleviate drowsiness.

2.Driver awareness recognition

Drivers must constantly be cautious of vehicles and pedestrians in their vicinity and around traffic lights, and must monitor all road signs. Yet, there is no guarantee that drivers are aware of everything they need to know. OMRON’s driver monitoring detects what a driver sees using non-invasive measures and releases warnings if the system determines that the driver is unaware of potential hazards.

Technologies Required for Driver Monitoring

Immediate recognition of hazardous conditions
(Inattentive driving, smartphone operation, drinking and eating,smoking,
sleeping, panic attacks, symptomatic onset, etc.)

Image sensing and sequential deep learning are the 2 primary components among a variety of solutions contributing to OMRON’s driver monitoring technology. Simply speaking, the 2 components sense the driver’s upper body activity and provide real-time data analysis. Combining the 2 components into 1 sensor allows the system to recognize various hazardous conditions, such as inattentive driving, smartphone operation, drinking and eating, smoking, sleeping, panic attacks, and symptomatic onset, etc.

1: Image sensing

OMRON’s OKAO is a high-precision facial-image sensing technology, over 20 years in the making. It detects the line of sight and blinking motion of any driver regardless of differences in eye color, hairstyle, skin color, or the use of sunglasses or facial masks. It can properly recognize faces in a vehicle in any environment including those with severe changes in lighting contrast.

2: Sequential deep learning

OMRON utilizes the latest AI technology in its developments. In addition to detecting a driver’s posture and facial expressions from images and deep learning, the system incorporates chronological elements into its analytics. It can accurately determine if a driver is in the driver’s seat, is monitoring the automated driving, and is ready to drive, etc.

The Latest Solutions in Driver Monitoring

OMRON’s driver monitoring solutions will continue to evolve with improvements in technology. Listed below are our 3 latest solutions that could open doors to new possibilities.

1: Non-invasive precision VOR drowsiness detection and prediction

The combination of vestibular-ocular reflex (VOR) and head movement is known to be correlated with drowsiness. Effects to the VOR can be seen a few minutes before the driver starts to experience drowsiness; thus, a driver monitoring system taking advantage of this phenomenon was needed. OMRON demonstrated the technology to measure VOR with a single mega-pixel camera – something that once had to be done invasively with prior technology by attaching an acceleration sensor and high-resolution camera to the driver’s head. Furthermore, it includes drowsiness prediction technology that has undergone hundreds of hours of testing on public roads, and has proven to be more precise than a comprehensive analysis of blinking motions and facial expressions.

2: Single camera with high-precision line-of-sight measurement (variance of less than 1°)

This system utilizes high-precision photolithographic technology that maps a megapixel pattern with 4um precision (3mm x 3mm). The single camera system equipped with OMRON’s exclusive optical design can determine what the driver sees by detecting the line-of-sight angle, 3D eye position, corneal reflection position, and other details with a precision of 1mm. The technology allows the system to warn the unaware driver of hazards – through projections on the vehicle windshield.

3: Automated adjustment for maximum comfort

The optimal human-machine interface (HMI), such as seat and mirror positions, differs for every driver. OMRON has optimized its “OKAO” facial sensing technology for automobiles. Now, the vehicle can optimize the HMI for the driver. This technology could have a wide range of applications from family vehicles to rental vehicles. As drive-assisting systems continue to evolve, the details in the settings may change as well. This solution offers convenient and comfortable traveling for all.

Detecting health conditions through vital data

In addition to non-invasive pulse sensors, OMRON is developing healthcare-based driver monitoring technologies. Driver monitoring through various vital data not only makes the road a safer place, but also protects your health. Rather than taking time to measure blood pressure and heart activity, vital data measured while traveling could help prevent major illnesses. OMRON will continue to research and develop technologies for this brighter future in mobility.

Sensing & Control + ThinkDriving the Future of Mobility

The futuristic concept of automated vehicles lies in imagining such conveyances as “transportable rooms” that allow drivers to truly relax and enjoy the ride. We are quickly heading towards a society where mobility represents a very bright future for all.
OMRON is dedicated to developing technologies for a fully-automated driving environment.