As drivers become more inundated with sensory input and have to control more functions – all while keeping focused on the road ahead – automakers will need to develop new and innovative interfaces to help safely handle these tasks. Voice recognition has been the go-to technology for hands-free interaction, although it has been under fire lately for also being distracting due to taking driver’s cognitive attention away from the road.
We’ve seen a few concepts that use gesture control as well as eye-tracking to make processing information behind the wheel less distracting, and the C3 Report got a hands-on look at Toyota’s Driver Awareness Research Vehicle that used Kinect camera to watch driver and passenger to deliver appropriate, non-distracting content. Now Honda plans to take a hybrid approach by combining voice and gesture recognition in a next-gen human machine interface (HMI) solution.
Yesterday, Honda R&D Americas and EDGE3 Technologies announced they’ve received a U.S. patent for a jointly developed HMI system that uses both voice and gesture recognition to “allow drivers to more accurately and naturally control their automobile’s infotainment and climate systems.” The two companies said that using a secondary command input allows the system to differentiate between intentional and unintentional commands and eliminate the “false positives” that plague many VR-only systems.
Using vision analytics developed by EDGE3 along with existing components such as stereo cameras and sensors, the technology runs on a standard system on a chip (SoC) platform. “From the onset, one of the goals of the collaboration was to leverage existing off the shelf sensors, chips and hardware to construct a world class, automotive grade HMI system,” said Stuart Yamamoto, a Honda R&D Americas engineer.
EDGE3 founder and CEO Tarek El Dokor added that an advantage of the system is that it brings advanced vision analytics to cars regardless of lighting conditions and without relying on significant processing power. He characterized the new system as a “game-changer for the global automotive and machine vision industry because it fundamentally modernizes how automobiles can respond to human behavior.”
As connected cars become increasingly complex and place more demands on drivers – and even as autonomy becomes more prevalent and vehicles have keep those behind the wheel engaged – automakers will need to develop sophisticated HMIs like this concept from Honda and EDGE3. And bring the technology to market so that all drivers can benefit from it, not just those who can afford higher-end cars.