Driver-aid Systems in Cars and Driver Inattention


Attention lapses during driving are common. The problem arises when you understand that these lapses can be fatal. Infotainment displays in car dashboards have made such lapses even more frequent. They are classified as “driver aids” and include automobile engine status, information about the weather and navigation maps. Sometimes, there space for a cellphone or some other attachment that allows you to fiddle with your cell phone. All of them take attention away from the fundamental responsibility of correct driving. Such distractions must be minimized. Ironically, these ‘improvements’ have caused many serious injuries and even deaths.

This is both a challenge and a wonderful opportunity for embedded developers and engineers. The US government has already released a set of guidelines to combat the menace of distracted driving. One of the guidelines says that the driver should be able to see the display easily and the content therein should be clearly visible. The government has also said that any device or task that is not recommended for use during driving should be locked away. This includes manual entry of text, network and smart phone activities and so on. Software development should also keep these guidelines in mind when creating embedded systems for cars.