We all know that driving while tired is dangerous, but so too can be driving while distracted or overstimulated. Harman has unveiled a new technology that detects all of these states. Its eye and pupil tracking system keeps tabs on a driver's cognitive workload so their car can respond accordingly.

There are already systems for tracking driver drowsiness, using things like steering wheel sensors and face monitoring. Harman says, however, that its new technology is an industry first and that it "represents a major step forward in the domain of Advanced Safety and Driver Monitoring Systems for vehicles."

The system employs a driver-facing camera, without the need for seat, steering wheel or biometric sensors. It continually monitors pupil dilation as an indication of the driver's mental workload. A software algorithm is then used to analyze the pupil reflex data collected and identifies times when the driver is under a high cognitive workload.

This information can then be communicated to the other safety systems in a car, allowing them to respond accordingly. Mobile devices, for example, can be put into do-not-disturb mode and driver assistance system intervention thresholds can be adjusted as appropriate.

Harman's eye and pupil tracking system is on display at CES.

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