Harman, a Samsung subsidiary that specializes in connected car technology and other IoT solutions, revealed at CES a suite of automotive features geared toward enhancing the health and safety of drivers and passengers, including an advanced driver-monitoring system (DMS) that can measure a driver's heart and breath rate.
Harman initially launched its DMS, called Ready Care, in September to measure driver eye activity and state of mind to determine cognitive distraction levels and then have the car initiate a personalized response to help mitigate dangerous driving situations. Based on the driver's stress levels, Ready Care could also provide alternate routes, perhaps away from traffic jams, that might help alleviate stress.
On Wednesday, Harman added to the Ready Care product contactless measurement of human vitals such as heart rate, breathing rate and interbeat levels to further determine a driver's state of well-being. Now, rather than just relying on an infrared global shutter camera, Harman has added to its set of sensors an in-cabin radar. Harman says this will also allow the vehicle to detect if a child is left unattended.
“With its unique ability to deliver customized and personalized driver interventions via a closed-loop approach, from detections via analysis to adjusting the temperature, audio settings and vehicle lighting, Ready Care offers solutions and protective intelligence that constantly prioritizes the driver’s well-being,” said Armin Prommersberger, SVP of product management at Harman, in a statement.
Through Harman's software development kit and supporting APIs, OEMs and other third-party suppliers can integrate their own vehicle features or functions as part of the in-cabin customized interventions against driver drowsiness and distraction, said Harman. The company didn't say which OEMs it plans to partner with, but when Harman initially launched Ready Care, BMW showcased the tech at the North America auto show.
Harman also revealed two new products dedicated toward enhancing the audio experience inside and outside the vehicle for safer driving. Together, the Sound and Vibration Sensor (SVS) and External Microphone can help people inside the vehicle better identify emergency vehicle sirens, listen for exterior speech commands from other drivers or traffic controllers, detect glass breakage or vehicle impact and more, according to Harman.
“Audio has the power to deliver incredible experiences for drivers and passengers, and safety is no exception,” said Mitul Jhala, senior director of Harman's automotive embedded audio team, in a statement. “With our new embedded audio solutions, SVS and External Microphone, OEMs can now offer the acoustic sensing and exterior sound detection consumers are looking for, while enhancing safety both inside and outside the vehicle.”
Harman said the SVS can be invisibly integrated into a vehicle's exterior and the external microphone can handle environmental elements like wind, sun and poor weather. The company said SVS and the external microphone are future-proofed for an autonomous world and can be integrated into a vehicle's larger sensor suite to increase awareness of sounds not just for vehicle occupants but also for self-driving systems.