YOUR CAR may soon be able to sound an alarm if it thinks you’re holding a mobile phone while driving.
Developed by scientists at Santa Catarina State University in Joaçaba, Brazil, it is the latest step in the development of technology that can alert a driver to ill-advised or illegal behaviour. Nissan is working on alcohol detectors that will disable a car’s engine while already, new models such as the Mercedes S-class can tell if the driver is feeling drowsy and advise them to rest.
The new system uses a dashboard-mounted camera and facial recognition software that scans areas of skin pigment to determine whether they represent a face or one with a hand next to it, indicating that the driver might be using a mobile phone. If the system calculates that the additional area of pigment is a hand, it will give the driver a warning.
If trials are successful, the system could be used by hire car companies wanting to discourage distracted driving or by parents keen to check if their children are using a phone while driving.
The scientists have not revealed whether the software can detect whether drivers are using their mobile phone to take a selfie, as Driving reported here.