To limit distraction, Denso studies brain waves, heart rate and blood pressure

David Sedgwick is a Senior Writer for Automotive News

Until now, designing infotainment controls has been a hit-or-miss affair for automakers and suppliers.

Denso International America is turning it into a science. Ron Schubert, the company's director of body components and safety, says the Japanese supplier is studying motorists' biological indicators.

Denso, which supplies infotainment systems, wants to help automakers figure out how to make the controls more user-friendly.

Researchers are measuring perspiration, brain waves, eye gaze, heart rate and blood pressure to determine the most reliable indicators of a motorist's mental state.

Once Denso identifies the best indicators of agitation, fatigue or distraction, Schubert says the company will figure out how to measure these biometrics when the subject is behind the wheel.

And that's the tricky part: Denso's researchers don't want to hook the driver up to a jungle of electrodes, Schubert says. The driving experience has to be natural.

Denso is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Iowa to develop these biometric tools.

Once they figure out how to do this, they can better decide which infotainment features are dangerous distractions.

This project is on the bleeding edge of scientific inquiry. But it may give us some groundbreaking insights into driver distraction.

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.