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DENSO and FotoNation to collaborate on image recognition technology for next-gen driver status monitor

DENSO Corporation, one of the world’s largest automotive technology, systems and components suppliers will start joint technology development of cabin sensing technology with FotoNation, an Xperi group company specializing in image recognition technologies. The partnership will help DENSO significantly improve the performance of its Driver Status Monitor, an active safety product currently used in commercial vehicles.

Improvements of such products also will accelerate the development of next-generation products to be used in passenger vehicles, including a system to help drivers return to driving mode during Level 3 of autonomous drive.

This collaboration will combine DENSO’s accumulated experience in improving the robustness of cabin sensing innovations and FotoNation’s sophisticated facial image recognition and neural network technologies. The goal is to produce driver status detection which will not be affected by differences between individual faces, or by sunglasses, masks, and other facial coverings, in the vehicle cabin where environmental light changes significantly.

Since 2014, DENSO has provided a Driver Status Monitor for heavy trucks and large sightseeing buses. This advanced safety product uses a cabin camera to capture images of the driver and computer vision technology to detect the driver’s face angle to determine the level of drowsiness. Using its proprietary algorithm to carefully analyze the driver’s eye blinking, DENSO’s driver status monitor can detect driver drowsiness and alert the driver when it judges the driver is distracted or falling asleep at the wheel, to help prevent traffic accidents.

FotoNation has provided computer imaging solutions integration for more than 10 years. FotoNation has maintained market leadership in the mobile image recognition segment and its technologies are installed in various devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, drones and security cameras, with approximately 25% of world’s smartphones using its image recognition technology.

Using FotoNation’s facial image recognition and neural networks technologies, detection accuracy will be increased by detecting more features instead of using the conventional detection method based on the relative positions of the eyes, nose, mouth, and other facial regions. Moreover, DENSO will develop new functions, such as those to detect the driver’s gaze direction and facial expressions more accurately, to understand the state of mind of the driver in order to help create more comfortable vehicles.

DENSO will exhibit a prototype next-generation driver status monitor at the Tokyo Motor Show.


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