Visteon testing new eye-control vehicle cockpit interface
Hoping to make the driving experience both safer and less stressful, automotive supplier Visteon has begun testing a new human machine interface (HMI) design that would allow drivers to control various secondary functions like the audio, climate and navigation systems in their vehicles using their eyes as the primary input source supplemented by hands-on steering wheel controls. Dubbed the HMeye cockpit concept, its main focus at present is to help eliminate or seriously mitigate the potential for distraction. However, Visteon believes the technology also could be useful as we move into the era of semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles.
"We're taking eye-tracking and head-positioning information and feeding that into the instrument cluster and center stack display to control the human machine interface in the vehicle," explained Paul Morris, innovation manager at Visteon. "The eye-gaze feature and steering wheel controls provide fast response time, which has the potential to improve safety by minimizing the driver's eye movement away from the road and keeping his or her hands on the wheel." Morris also addressed the more practical considerations in taking HMeye to the streets, noting: "Advancements in camera technology, along with size reduction, have allowed the automotive industry to incorporate camera capabilities for in-vehicle applications at a reasonable cost."
Prior to showing this current-generation prototype, consumer research using an earlier version of the system found that 81 percent of those who tested it found it easy to operate and 78 percent said it was enjoyable to use. While providing no guidance on a possible first application for the HMeye, Visteon did note the concept has generated interest from various automakers.
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