Mitsubishi Electric has developed a new concept car, the EMIRAI xS Drive, equipped with near-infrared cameras and radio-wave sensors to monitor the driver and passengers and an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) to provide adaptive control of the headlights, both of which help to avoid traffic accidents.
The system uses an onboard near-infrared camera to detect driver drowsiness or sudden sickness based on facial expressions (closed eyes, open mouth, etc.) and other body information (pulse and respiration rates). Face-tracing and image-processing technology detect slight variations in skin tone due to changes in heartbeat, even in the presence of vehicle vibrations or changes in ambient light. In case the driver shows any signs of physical distress, the system will suggest the driver stop to rest or can even activate an automated emergency-parking function to prevent possible accidents.
The EMIRAI xS Drive system also uses the near-infrared camera to detect the presence of occupants and uses the position of the passenger’s face and the skeletal points of their upper body to accurately determine body size. Radio waves from a sensor are processed using the signals’ reflective and transmissive properties to detect the presence of children in the near-infrared camera’s blind spots, such as wrapped in a blanket or down in the footwell. Using this information, the system detects with high accuracy if a child is left behind in the vehicle, in which case the system notifies the driver and others nearby.
For safer driving at night, the system will help the driver by enabling headlight control to adapt the curve and slope of the road ahead and the driver’s direction of view. Areas where the driver is looking, and also potentially dangerous hazards, are brightly illuminated to support safer driving at night. Moreover, using the vehicle’s external cameras and millimeter-wave radar, the system will be able to alert the driver of potential hazards ahead as well as approaching vehicles from behind without having to look.
It is currently unknown when or if these technologies will make their way into Mitsubishi production vehicles. The Mitsubishi EMIRAI xS Drive concept will be exhibited at CES 2022 in Las Vegas next month.