Transportation researchers, students, and policy makers from around the world had an opportunity to experience first-hand the progress and complexity of developing reliable driver monitoring technology when they participated in a unique demonstration project staged by the RITA/Volpe Center at the Transportation Research Board's (TRB's) 87th annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in January 2008.
The Driver Status Monitor (DSM) is one of a group of electronic safety devices being developed for crash avoidance in motor vehicles under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) SAVE-IT Program (Safety Vehicles using adaptive Interface Technology). An experimental prototype of the DSM, developed by Delphi and Electronics and Safety, Inc., was demonstrated in the RITA exhibit at TRB, where Volpe Center staff tested the DSM for the first time to explore how the device responded to individuals with different facial shapes, hats, facial jewelry, and eyeglasses with various tints.
The DSM has numerous exciting potential applications and can overcome challenges in existing technology. For example, in motor vehicles, devices such as Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning systems generate substantial numbers of nuisance warnings that drivers tend to shut off to avoid receiving unnecessary warnings. The DSM is primarily intended to reduce unneeded warnings from the other systems so that drivers won't disable them. More than 100 people participated in the demonstration, yielding valuable data that may enhance the DSM's ability to recognize and relocate facial features.