Subaru Infrared Driver Monitoring System detects drowsy drivers and those distracted by mobile phones. Picture: Supplied.
Subaru Infrared Driver Monitoring System detects drowsy drivers and those distracted by mobile phones. Picture: Supplied.

Subaru launches car that tells you to 'get off the phone'

FINALLY, someone has ­invented in-car technology that could stop drivers being distracted by mobile phones.

A car that beeps and ­flashes an internal warning to drivers who aren't watching the road is now on sale in Australia in select vehicles.

A hidden infra-red LED camera in the dash can detect when the driver is getting drowsy or glancing at their phone. The technology is so effective it can determine if the driver is discreetly looking down at their lap.

Subaru says the technology checks several factors such as face orientation and blinking intervals and studies driver behaviour so closely it can even tell if someone is trying to trigger a false warning.

The same technology, which is expected to eventually be rolled out by a range of carmakers­, can also be used to recognise the faces of up to five drivers and automatically adjust seat and mirror positions­ when they get behind the wheel.

For now, though, the focus is on driver distraction but there is one catch: It is still up to the driver to respond to the warning.

Australian Road Safety Foundation CEO Russell­ White said while advances in technology could help cut road deaths, "it doesn't dissolve human responsibility".

"A lot of advanced ­safety features are great but you need to know what each one does so you don't place too much faith in it, and know its limits­," he said.

Most modern cars have front and side airbags, which have proven to be the biggest safety improvement since the seatbelt, but the focus is now on preventing crashes. Speed sign recognition is becoming available, with some detecting school zones and road works.


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