autonomos.automotiveIT

Wearing a helmut that captures eye movement, the driver no longer needs his hands for steering

Scientists at Berlin’s Free University have developed software that lets drivers steer a vehicle using only their eyes.

The experiment uses eyeDriver software, which is a prototype application designed by computer scientists at Freie Universitaet Berlin in collaboration with computer vision application specialist SMI (SensoMotoric Instruments).

The software developed in Berlin collects and converts a driver’s eye movements into control signals for the steering wheel. Experiments show a driver can steer a vehicle using only eye movements.

In the experiment, the driver wears a converted bicycle helmet that detects and tracks eye movements. The helmet is equipped with two cameras and an infrared LED. It is connected to a laptop computer.

After a brief calibration the software on the laptop is able to capture the position of the pupil in the eye camera and can calculate where the driver is looking. Using another camera that looks at the car’s surroundings, the system then transmits the coordinates to an onboard computer.

The hands-free driving experiment is part of the Berlin University’s autonomous vehicle project, which is headed by Professor Raul Rojas and Tinosch Ganjineh. The aim of the project is to explore new autonomous driving technologies that will make contributions to accident-free, efficient, and environmentally friendly mobility.

AutoNOMOS, as the project is called, is a modular system for the operation of autonomous or semi-autonomous cars. The results of the project should let cars detect impending dangers on roads, highways, and crossings at an early stage and improve accident prevention.

A video of the eye-driven car be seen here.