Automotive

Mitsubishi Emirai xS Drive system watches drivers – and the road

Mitsubishi Emirai xS Drive sys...
A rendering of the Mitsubishi Emirai xS Drive concept, which will debut in physical form at CES in January
A rendering of the Mitsubishi Emirai xS Drive concept, which will debut in physical form at CES in January
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A rendering of the Mitsubishi Emirai xS Drive concept, which will debut in physical form at CES in January
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A rendering of the Mitsubishi Emirai xS Drive concept, which will debut in physical form at CES in January
The Emirai xS Drive system uses a near-infrared camera to monitor the driver at all times
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The Emirai xS Drive system uses a near-infrared camera to monitor the driver at all times

For some time now, Mitsubishi has been using its Emirai concept cars to showcase emerging automotive technologies. The latest one, the Emirai xS Drive, monitors drivers and passengers, while also using its headlights to highlight potential road hazards.

Perhaps better described as a "concept cabin," the xS Drive features near-infrared cameras which image both the driver and the passengers.

As far as the driver goes, one camera and the associated machine-learning-based software are reportedly able to detect drowsiness or sudden illness via two different processes. First of all, the system monitors the driver's facial expressions, watching for things like closed eyes or a hanging-open mouth. Secondly, by tracking subtle fluctuations in the person's skin tone, it's able to detect changes in their heartbeat and rate of respiration.

If the system determines that the driver has lost consciousness or is otherwise unable to drive safely, it will alert them to pull over. If that doesn't work, xS Drive can even take control of the car, autonomously pulling it over and parking it.

The Emirai xS Drive system uses a near-infrared camera to monitor the driver at all times
The Emirai xS Drive system uses a near-infrared camera to monitor the driver at all times

Near-infrared cameras are also able to detect how many passengers are present, utilizing the height of their face and the locations of their upper-body skeletal points to determine each person's body size. Other sensors, which emit radio waves and analyze their reflections, can detect the presence of infants or small children in cabin areas that the cameras can't see. If the driver parks the car and gets out, absent-mindedly leaving their baby behind, the system will alert them.

A combination of the car's forward-facing cameras and millimeter-wave radar module is additionally able to turn the headlights in the direction of curves or upward slopes in the road, letting the driver see what's coming. This aspect of the xS Drive system also focuses the headlights on hazards such as jaywalkers, and can even project driver-alert symbols onto the road in front of the car – such alerts could include warnings that another vehicle is approaching from behind.

There's presently no word on when or if these technologies may make their way into Mitsubishi's production vehicles. The Emirai xS Drive concept itself can be seen at the Consumer Electronics Show, next month in Las Vegas.

Source: Mitsubishi Electric

1 comment
1 comment
Daishi
It's weird to see these companies that thought autonomous driving was "basically solved" 5+ years ago now meticulously monitoring user driving habits, recording them on camera, and now jumping both feet first into the health tracking industry. It's good to know they have the best intentions too so they can pin the liability of autonomous crashes on the driver not properly taking over in time. Being less attentive to the drive was the entire appeal of autonomous technology now you have to do that with added stress of knowing the video of you picking your nose or messing up song lyrics might become public court record in an accident. So much for privacy.