Magna International

Building Trust Between Human and Machine

While fully autonomous cars won’t fill the roads for years, the thought leaders at Magna are working on human-machine interactions with a major emphasis on occupant monitoring, a field that’s exploding with new opportunities.

Magna is a leader in this effort with in-cabin monitoring of second- and third-row seats, a feature that is now in production and available on the market.

This video-based system gives the driver “eyes in the back of their head,” an industry-first feature. Front passengers get a clear view of the backseat area on a display screen, giving parents and other caregivers a top-down view of children in the rear seat, even in low light or dark conditions.

Occupant monitoring will become even more advanced in the not-too-distant future, as new types of Magna technology emerge and as the industry moves closer to Level 5 or fully automated driving.

From a lab in Auburn Hills, Michigan where a vehicle simulator tracks a driver’s eye movements to engineering centers in Sailauf, Germany, the Magna global team is paving the way for a seamless transition from manual control of a vehicle to full automation.

It’s essential to first monitor the person behind the wheel and understand his or her state in terms of reaction time and situational awareness. Predicting the driver’s actions by using radio frequency, visual sensors, brainwaves, heartbeat, sweat, fingertip conductivity and blood pressure is a major focus.

Occupant monitoring will become even more advanced in the not-too-distant future, as new types of Magna technology emerge and as the industry moves closer to Level 5 or fully automated driving.

But as the industry moves closer to fully automated driving that does not require a human behind the wheel, attention will shift to occupant monitoring.

Future vehicles may sense if a passenger wants to read and will turn on a reading light. If passengers want to sleep, the system may activate a noise-cancellation or massage feature. A boring stretch of highway could morph into a beautiful view for passengers, courtesy of in-vehicle augmented reality. A vehicle may also alert a passenger’s social network and let their friends know where they are.

Heinz Mattern, the global director of near-field ADAS for Magna’s electronics group, says the final frontier will be improving communication and building trust between passengers and fully autonomous vehicles.

“To build trust, we’ll be working on an interface when the passenger enters the vehicle,” Mattern said. “Sensors and cameras may ‘see’ expressions that tell how a person feels about being in a self-driving car. And then the challenge will be to come up with ways to alter their reaction and mood.”

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