Mazda is close to launching a new safety feature that will help drivers that could suddenly become incapacitated. As part of its Co-Pilot suite of driver-assistance systems, the car will be able to warn other road-goers and safely pull over to the shoulder.
Mazda is demonstrating the technology to journalists in Japan in a specially outfitted Mazda 3 called the Co-Pilot Concept, though, as per the Seattle Times, it hasn't been given a proper name as of yet. Essentially, it uses largely available technologies to help usher the car to safety.
Monitoring of the driver comes simply from an interior-mounted camera that faces the driver. Mazda has been working with the Tsukuba University Hospital so software can distinguish whether a driver is alert or slumped over. While the program can identify drivers falling unconscious due to sudden health issues like a stroke or heart attack — a growing concern for aging populations like Japan's — it can also be used for those who are under the influence or fatigued.
Upon detecting an incapacitated driver, the car will warn other drivers by honking and flashing its lights. It will then pull over to the side of the road in initiate a call to emergency services. The goal is save lives, similar to that of Apple's new iPhone crash detection feature, which also dials 911 in case an impact is detected at speed.
The technology seems to be a natural progression of modern safety features, which can monitor lane position, blind spots and adjust speed based on surrounding traffic. Mazda estimates that the technology will hit production cars next year in Japan. Afterwards, it will roll out to Europe, but the article states Mazda is waiting to see if the U.S. will be accepting of such technology.
According to the Seattle Times, Mazda is also researching ways to detect a health issue before the driver is even aware of it themselves. Swaying heads, unfocused eyes, and anomalies in driving style are all being considered. By 2025, it hopes the system will be able to warn drivers before the ailment strikes.
You Might Also Like