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September 1, 2014

GM develops smart cars to detect distracted drivers

Seeing Machines signs deal to supply GM with tracking over the next five years.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

General Motors is looking to launch the world’s first smart cars with eye and head-tracking technology that would warn drivers if they are checking their phones or becoming distracted while driving.

Takata, a supplier of automotive safety systems and products, has signed a contract with Australian firm Seeing Machines to supply the US car manufacturer with tracking devices for 500,000 vehicles over the next five years.

The tracking monitors would measure the rotation of the head to alert drivers if they fail to focus on the road ahead.

Ken Kroeger, Seeing Machines’ CEO, told the Financial Times: "Safety doesn’t sell cars – sexy sells car…But once cameras are there, they can be expanded for other features and purposes."

He point to use cases that would allow the car to detect the identity of a driver to combat car theft, or allow a motorist to activate a dashboard app simply by looking at it.

Any privacy concerns should be partially allayed by the fact that the Seeing Machines’ device will not keep or transmit any information initially, according to the Financial Times.

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