The success of VCSEL technology has led to their use in a wide range of sensing, imaging, scanning and ranging applications across multiple fields - machine vision, automotive, scientific and medical.
Advanced, high-resolution Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors and more sophisticated software algorithms, coupled with well-controlled infrared illumination, are enabling accurate tracking and interpolation of high frame-rate 2D images. While this has been employed in robotics and machine vision systems for some time, the size and cost-effectiveness of such systems is now at a point where it is more universally deployed.
One of the more exciting applications of 2D image tracking is the Driver Monitoring System (DMS) in emerging automotive applications. As cars, trucks and passenger transport becomes more automated, it is important for the vehicle to know the status of the driver and passengers. Is the driver awake? Is the driver paying attention? What is the head position of the driver? Where are the driver’s hands? What is the driver reaching for? How many passengers are there? All this information can be fed into the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Infotainment systems to allow the automobile to act and react to every circumstance.
Driver Monitoring Systems promise a wide range of benefits to safety and convenience:
- Driver identification: facial recognition, gender and age (further augmented by 3D Facial Recognition)
- Driver attentiveness: head pose, posture, eyelid tracking and mood
- Driver distraction: iris tracking, gaze tracking
- Gesture control: touch-free control of navigation, infotainment, HVAC, etc. (enabled by 3D Sensing)