Microsoft is the latest tech company to take on driver safety with their announcement of the Harnessing AutoMobiles for Safety (HAMS) project.
The HAMS project uses a sensing device to create a virtual “safety harness” for the vehicle. Microsoft’s goal is to monitor the state of the driver, as well as how the vehicle is being driven for the road and environment it’s being operated in.
Microsoft is using smartphones as the sensing device, as the front and rear-mounted cameras, as well as the accelerometer, give HAMS the ability to monitor the road, driver, acceleration and deceleration.
“The sensing device employed in HAMS is an off-the-shelf smartphone. The smartphone is mounted on the windshield, with its front camera facing the driver and the rear camera looking out to the front. The key to the operation of HAMS is the use of multiple sensors simultaneously. For example, when a sharp braking event is detected (using the smartphone’s accelerometer), the distance to the vehicle in front is checked (using the rear camera), along with indications of driver distraction or fatigue (using the front camera). Such sensing and detection in tandem helps provide a holistic and accurate picture of how the vehicle is being driven, enabling appropriate feedback to then be generated.
“As part of the project, we have also explored several use cases for HAMS. One of the earliest we prototyped was a fleet management dashboard, which allowed a supervisor to view safety-related incidents of interest offline. We have also piloted HAMS in the context of driver training, in collaboration with the Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR), run by Maruti-Suzuki, the largest passenger car manufacturer in India.”