In the very near future, the vehicle we drive will be keeping a close eye on us so we don’t make any mistakes while driving or any other actions forbidden by the law.
In case we jump the horse and do something that we shouldn’t do while driving, the car can even report you to the authorities.
The new monitoring technology, dubbed “the backseat driver,” will use “in-car sensor technology” to monitor your behaviour inside the vehicle.
Facial expressions of the driver along with any form of movement will be tracked in order to determine if they are too tired, distracted, etc, to enhance short-term safety.
As reported by Automotive News, “data from the cameras is analysed with image recognition software to determine whether a driver is looking at his cellphone or at the dashboard, turned away, or getting sleepy […]”
This novel technology was showcased in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was present on all autonomous vehicles.
Although only the 2018 Cadillac CT6 is equipped with interior-facing cameras right now, manufacturers behind the technology have asserted that it’s not a question of “if self-driving cars gain broad acceptance,” but rather “when” they will fill the streets in abundance.
Companies like Audi and Tesla have already aligned to the standards and developed this kind of monitoring technology, although they keep it on stand-by for now.
This year’s pioneers of this attention-tracking technologies are Subaru, Mazda and electric vehicle start-up Byton, who will be incorporating driver inattention measurement cameras into their new vehicle series.
Although this technology is meant to increase short-term safety for drivers and passengers alike, it’s actually generating various other benefits for automakers and ride-sharing companies due to your personal data collected inside vehicles.
The reason [the camera] is going to sweep across the cabin is not because of distraction … but because of all the side benefits,” admitted Mike Ramsey, automotive research director at Gartner.
I promise you that companies that are trying to monetize data from the connected car are investigating ways to use eye-tracking technology,” he added.
The collected data will then be analysed by artificial intelligence in order to offer the occupants of a car a more tailored driving experience, like lowering the heat, playing specific music, activating controls based on movement and eyesight, etc.
The more you know about the user, the more you’re able to fulfil his or her needs,” said Eric Montague, senior director of strategy for Nuance Automotive.
And while all this may sound promising, remember that we didn’t ask for this monitoring technology that’s offering more comfort at the cost of personal freedom.
Even more, this will entirely destroy our human reflexes and instincts since we’ll pass most of our driving tasks to the A.I.
Your personal data will also be sold for a huge profit to retailers and advertisers who are very interested to know when a passenger is looking towards a specific restaurant or place.
This reminds me of the recent technology patented by Facebook that plans to spy on you through your cellphone.
Cars are still considered private zones,” said Raviv Melamed, CEO and cofounder of Vayyar. “They [drivers and passengers] think they’re in their own living room, they behave like they’re not outside! It’s obvious no one wants a camera.”
But with advertisers and retailers dying to know more about their potential clients, and automakers ready to make a hefty side income out of this data, the future is already decided – autonomous cars mirroring a Big Brother environment will set off in numbers as soon as next year.
Whether this is part of a broader control agenda or is purely a consequence of technology and progress, we can only speculate.
For now, we are free to enjoy our private driving compartments, but soon enough the law will not allow any longer for this type of freedom.
What are your thoughts on this? Would you drop your non-autonomous vehicle for a self-driving car that can read your mind and tend to all your specific needs?