1 camera used to collect large amount of data
For shooting video, a monocular near-infrared camera with a pixel count of about 300,000 is used. Asahi Kasei considers it as a camera that is for in-vehicle event data recorders and has an average performance. When the number of pixels increases, the accuracy of calculation of pulse rate improves.
"A camera with a pixel count larger than one million is ideal," the company said.
The use of technologies to check the conditions of a driver has been spreading since about 2014, especially for commercial vehicles. Many of them use a near-infrared camera, as in the case of Asahi Kasei's technology, but measure different things.
For example, the system that Denso Corp is selling to Hino Motors Ltd, Isuzu Motors Ltd and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp detects the changes of the driver's posture and the orientation of the driver's face and the opening degree of the driver's eyelids. Based on them, the system gives a warning with sound when it finds the tendency of inattentive driving, drowsy driving, etc.
The systems being developed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp, Panasonic Corp, Omron Corp, etc use the same mechanism as Denso's system. So, Asahi Kasei's technology to calculate a pulse rate by using only a camera is uncommon. Because the technology can be applied to existing driver monitoring systems, it enables to check the physical conditions of a driver by adding/changing a minimum number of automotive devices.
The strongest request that Asahi Kasei is receiving from auto makers is to collect a large amount of driver's data with one camera, the company said. To reduce the cost of installing the system, they want to add as many functions as possible to automotive cameras, which are being increasingly used.