Well, what do you know, we may not have to necessarily own a Subaru just to have their built-in camera-based safety system. Computer science researchers from Dartmouth College have recently developed CarSafe, an Android app that brings safety system to just any car in the world.
What’s unique about CarSafe, aside from being an app, is its ability to detect driver fatigue and lane derivation. It uses the front-facing and rear camera of the smartphone as it sits on the dashboard of the car.
However, current smartphones do not yet have the capability of using the cameras at the same time, so the researchers designed the app to intelligently switch between the two cameras based on a special algorithm.
“We’ve spoken with people at Google and Samsung, not Apple, and it seems that it could be hardware limitation, maybe software too,” said Professor Andrew Campbell, the head of smartphone sensing group. “Personally I think they saw no real need to do this.”
The app decides on what camera to use by detecting some patterns of the driver. If the driver is attentive and does not register any microsleep patterns, the app focuses more on the road rather than on the user, and vice versa. While using the front-facing camera, the app aids the user in detecting obstacles ahead by utilizing the GPS, visuals, gyroscope, and accelerometers.
“The key thing that CarSafe does for the first time is correlate classified events on the road and in the car by asking simple questions — Is the driver in danger because they are distracted and weaving? We aim to try and answer these questions by inferring dangerous events in real-time using only a phone,” according to Campbell.
For CarSafe to evolve more, Campbell hopes in the future that smartphone makers will add a feature that lets users use both cameras simultaneously.
Currently, the app is only available on Android. We might have to wait a little while for CarSafe to become downloadable as release date is not yet known. Stay tuned for more updates here in TogTech.