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Sensing Mobile Device Use While Driving

Technology #20170138

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Distracted drivingDriver viewing roadway vs the mobile device
Categories
Researchers
Baris Unver
Research Assistant, Computer Science
Managed By
Andrew Morrow
Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending

Novel algorithm differentiates drivers from passengers

A new method that distinguishes between a driver and passengers in a motor vehicle can determine if the driver is looking at a mobile communication device (MCD) while driving. By leveraging existing eye, gaze and head tracking techniques, this new technology differentiates drivers from passengers by measuring the frequency of changing gazes (i.e., looking at a mobile device and then another spot) to determine a gaze parameter relative to a mobile device. When a driver is determined to be looking at an MCD, this new technology can send an alert and even shut off the phone without interfacing with the vehicle. It can also determine which application is currently being shown on the mobile device display, and if that application is on a “Do Not Use” list. This technology could be instrumental in preventing distracted driving from texting, e-mailing and/or web-surfing.

Requires no additional hardware or sensors

Mobile communication device (MCD) use while driving contributes to traffic accidents, injuries, deaths and economic losses. Though sensing mobile device usage while driving is critical, current technology makes detection difficult. Existing solutions that use additional external hardware and sensors to ensure drivers keep their hands on the wheel are not practical and cannot directly address the problem. This new method uses the video camera already built into the device and behavioral factors to determine if the driver is using a mobile device. Because no additional hardware or sensors are needed, this method is more feasible at a lower cost.

Phase of Development

  • Prototype developed

Benefits

  • Low cost solution requiring no additional hardware or sensors
  • Could prevent distracted driving from mobile device usage, including texting, e-mailing and/or web-surfing

Features

  • Leverages existing eye, gaze and head tracking techniques to differentiate drivers from passengers
  • Determines if a driver is looking at a mobile communication device (MCD) while driving
  • Runs on smartphones using the built-in video camera
  • Can send an alert or even shut off the phone without interfacing with the vehicle
  • Can determine it the currently displayed device application is on a “Do Not Use” list

Applications

  • Preventing distracted driving
  • Mobile device system developers
  • Mobile internet service providers


Interested in Licensing?
The University relies on industry partners to further develop and ultimately commercialize this technology. The license is for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the patents. Please contact Andrew Morrow to share your business needs and licensing and technical interests in this technology.