Subaru has plunged into driver monitoring with an active safety feature that tracks a motorist's eyes to detect drowsiness.
DriverFocus, developed by supplier Mitsubishi Electric, debuted in the redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester, on the top-range Touring trim. The system uses a small infrared camera embedded in the vehicle's infotainment system and uses facial recognition software to identify signs of driver distraction and fatigue.
Once the camera has scanned the driver's face, the system tracks his or her eyes. If the eyes are not on the road for two to three seconds, the system emits audible and visual alerts to remind the motorist to focus.
"The current focus of camera systems is as a safety product," said Mark Rakoski, vice president of advanced mobility at Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America. "Is the driver paying attention? Is he gazing off? Is he looking off into something too long? Are his eyes closed? Is he looking somewhere he shouldn't be, from attention standpoint? It very much started as a safety product."
Subaru and Mitsubishi Electric have stressed that the technology does not record data.
After introducing the system in the Forester, Subaru is expanding it to the redesigned 2020 Subaru Legacy, making it standard on the Legacy XT in Limited and Touring trims, as well as optional on the midsize sedan's Limited trim.