Following an incredible launch event, I’m looking back at my top five takeaways from our first InCabin event in September 2022 – and what a day it was!
It was impossible to choose only five things to talk about, so I’ve covered my top five topics with takeaways from each. What is sure is that this industry is buzzing and excited and that it’s a perfect place for engineers with a thirst for innovative ideas.
- You’ve never seen so many car seats and baby dolls at a tech conference. Child Presence Detection was very ‘present’ and was a straightforward, attention-grabbing demo. By no means does it seem to be a real challenge for anyone, it is clearly the low hanging fruit, and an easy conversation starter.
- When it comes to the tech & design win battle, Driver Monitoring is king. Drowsiness and distraction were the 2 big themes. The clear next step is once we know that they are drowsy or distracted, what should we do?
- People are mentioning and asking about intoxication, but companies don’t seem ready to demo their approach to tackling it quite yet. I heard lots of interesting ideas though, including a gas sensor installed near the steering wheel and measuring facial blood flow with cameras.
- The industry is waiting with bated breath to see what regulations are coming next so they can make smart design decisions now. The industry wants to know what regulators are thinking and wants to have an impact by helping regulators make informed decisions as the field of human factors is new to much of automotive, including regulators.
- EuroNCAP requires child presence detection for a 5-star rating in 2023, which will followed by the requirement to detect impaired driving.
- There is also the question of when the standards organisations will come into play to set expectations for how good is ‘good enough’.
- Many benefits arise from integrating sensors and tech already inside of the vehicle like audio, microphones, pressure sensors and the HMI.
- New tech could improve existing systems like seatbelt detection, passenger detection for airbag deployment, and lane departure notifications. We can use the new tech to make those annoying ADAS features a little smarter, so you only get notifications when you really need them.
- For cameras it seems people are confident about the image quality required, and the differences seem to be number of cameras and placement to be cross functional with OMS, in addition to proprietary perception algorithms. There seems to be a push for wide eye cameras with higher resolution.
- Illumination is an important topic. We see demos showing the eyes through glasses at night, but there are different types of materials used in different glasses, so even if one type works well, others may not.
- Excellent simulation of humans and lighting is a huge topic for in-cabin sensing and human factors training and testing.
- There’s a really interesting dichotomy going on here. We have mature tech meeting an emerging automotive sector. These companies that have been providing this tech to other industries for decades are now needed in automotive. The well-known automotive giants now need to understand human factors more than ever.
- Many of these players know each other, having worked for their competition or at other suppliers or OEMs together in the past. Much of this tech has been in development for 5-15 years and vetted for industries like medical, trucking & mining.
- Unlike the rest of ADAS and autonomous driving, OEMs haven’t known the best way to find these in-cabin people and get up to speed on the tech. This was the first time many of these companies showed their demos publicly. The OEMs are extremely curious and can’t afford to fall behind, as new regulations demand their attention on this topic.
- These two groups are now learning how to talk to each other and what questions they should be asking, especially since it seems more common that the DMS providers are working directly with OEMs, rather than Tier Ones doing the vetting on their behalf. The good news is that with such a rich community of engineers, everyone is really excited to talk about something new.
- DMS providers want design wins of course. OEMs need to have vetted multiple options so it seems they are really beginning to make the rounds now. With an adjusting supply chain in automotive, people want to know more about the role Tier Ones will play in this sector.
- The industry needs to further understand what ‘multimodal’ can mean and what capabilities sensor fusion will enable. We can do that best once we’ve had time to digest the options for sensing and HMI.
- People wanted to see more about radar and data privacy. One of the main questions I heard was “where are all the radar companies?”. People don’t understand what the expectations will be for data privacy and are very curious. It seems there are different laws in different countries and we’re going to need some law and policy experts to play a role in the conversations.
- Everyone wants to know what the OEMs want and expect so we look forward to hearing more from them.
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