Exterior cameras meant to reduce blind spots and facilitate parking are attractive features in many cars. However, cameras intended to monitor the position of the driver and passengers inside the car are now being tested. These interior cameras track the number, size, and location of everyone in a vehicle, and can even determine where each is looking. This offers many new opportunities.
Interior Cameras May Prove Vital to Autonomous Vehicles
Current autonomous vehicles generally require the driver to remain in an alert state even while the system manages all driving functions. There are clear drawbacks to this, not the least of which is the natural human tendency to get distracted.
Interior cameras will allow the vehicle to alert the driver when attention is really necessary. At other times, the camera will make it far safer to watch TV, engage with a smartphone, or attend to other tasks that are discouraged today.
Novel Ideas Come into Focus Through Vehicle Cameras
Cameras can make passenger management easier. For example, imagine a long trip with a crowd of rambunctious kids in the rear seat. It’ll no longer be necessary to turn around to ensure everyone is behaving – you’ll have “eyes in the back of your head!”
Cameras could be combined with other electronic systems for unprecedented features: For example, taking footage of a potential carjacker or sounding an alarm if someone tries to enter the rear seat of a parked vehicle.
Other safety features may improve as well, with airbag function tailored precisely to the position and size of each passenger during an accident.
To detect and identify the vast range of objects that may be inside a vehicle, new camera systems must overcome immense challenges. Based on research by Volkswagen and others, interior cameras may start to appear in 5-10 years.