General Motors Reportedly Launching Cars That Detect Distracted Driving

For years, laws have been put into place to discourage distracted driving: no texting while driving, no talking on the phone while driving, the list goes on. General Motors is taking things a step further by commissioning a vehicle that detects and alerts drivers to their distracted behavior.

The Financial Times reports that General Motors is preparing to launch the first mass-produced vehicles with eye- and head-tracking technology to detect distracted behaviors in drivers.

Officials close to the matter tell the Financial Times that an agreement to supply GM with 500,000 tracking devices over the next three to five years has been signed between device maker, Seeing Machines, and safety-goods maker Takata.

The devices from Seeing Machines can identify features of a drivers’ face, such as the rotation of the head and the frequency of blinks and imposes the data on a three-dimensional map of the car’s interior to see what the driver is looking at. The device can then alert drivers if they are not spending enough time looking at certain areas.

Seeing Machines’ CEO Ken Kroeger tells the Financial Times that the device isn’t just to detect distracted driving but could also prevent it. Eventually the technology could allow drivers to activate apps by simply looking at a certain point in the car and touching a button on the steering wheel.

Additionally, it could be used to detect a driver’s identity as a guard against theft.

Officials with GM declined to provide comment on the product plans to CNBC.

While the new technology could potentially increase driver safety, two companies party to the deal have faced scrutiny this year for vehicle safety issues.

General Motors has been under fire since the first of the year when it was revealed the company knew of a deadly ignition switch defect for more than a decade before recalling vehicles. So far, the company has acknowledged 13 deaths related to the issue and recalled more than 2 million vehicles.

Several months later, Takata found itself in the center of controversy related to millions of potentially defective airbags it supplied to car manufacturers including Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and Chrysler. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, the airbags could possibly deploy abnormally in a crash.

GM to launch cars that detect distracted driving [The Financial Times]

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