Jaguar Land Rover’s eye-tracking wiper
Back in January Jaguar Land Roverannounced its tie-in with Intel and Seeing Machines to developeye-tracking technology that could be used prevent drowsy driving –but the firm also has other ideas for eye sensing tech that are bothmore mundane and more useful in day-to-day terms.
While the potential safety benefits ofthe firm’s prototype "Driver Monitor System" (DMS) that wasannounced at CES in Las Vegas in January is impossible to deny, sinceit monitors the driver’s eye movements, even behind sunglasses, todetect distraction or drowsiness and trigger alerts when thosesituations arise, they might not be the sort of tangible improvementsthat buyers will notice day-in, day-out. But the firm has justpublished a patent that illustrates another way that eye-trackinghardware and software could help drivers – by helping to decidewhen to operate the rear screen’s wiper.
The patent notes, rightly, that rearwipers have some essential problems. On wet roads or in rain,constant wiping is rarely necessary but intermittent sweeps are oftenmistimed, so at the instant you glance in the mirror there’s a goodchance the view through the back screen will be obscured. Cue theeye-tracking tech …
According to the patent, using JLR’ssystem, when your eye moves towards the rear mirror and the rearwiper is set to "intermittent," the car will automatically givethe screen an extra wipe (provided it hasn’t just done one a momentbefore), so it’s sure to be clear at just the moment you need tosee through it.
It’s never likely to be aheadline-making technology, but there are few better illustrations ofhow eye-tracking technology could seamlessly improve the drivingexperience, subtly working behind the scenes.
Given that few Jaguars currently userear wipers, at least until the forthcoming F-Pace SUV is released,the technology is likely to appear on Land Rover machines first –don’t be surprised if it appears on high-end Range Rovers in thenot-too-distant future.