New software can detect when people text and drive

Friday, September 8, 2017

Driver texting while behind the wheelComputer algorithms developed by engineering researchers at the University of Waterloo can accurately determine when drivers are texting or engaged in other distracting activities.

The system uses cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) to detect hand movements that deviate from normal driving behaviour and grades or classifies them in terms of possible safety threats.

Fakhri Karray, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Waterloo, said that information could be used to improve road safety by warning or alerting drivers when they are dangerously distracted.

And as advanced self-driving features are increasingly added to conventional cars, he said, signs of serious driver distraction could be employed to trigger protective measures.

“The car could actually take over driving if there was imminent danger, even for a short while, in order to avoid crashes,” said Karray, a University Research Chair and director of the Centre for Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (CPAMI) at Waterloo.

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