If you fear that the tech industry is already tracking and monitoring too much of our daily lives, you may want to look away. If your devices will let you.
Eyesight Technologies, a company that develops AI and computer vision systems, has made updates to its Driver Sense facial tracking system to track drivers’ facial expressions even when a mask is in place. The updates come as truckers, long-haul fleet workers and other drivers put in long hours during the coronavirus shutdown.
The technology is amazing, but something about watching it work behind the scenes makes it all seem very creepy.
We can see in the gif above that the systems track eyes and head movements and can tell if the driver is talking on the phone or smoking. That type of creep-tech has been around for a while, but Eyesight’s updates take them to another level. Most systems require a clear view of the driver’s eyes/eyelids, head, and mouth, so the ability to track all of that while there’s a mask in the way represents a big change. Driver Sense uses an infrared sensor, which allows it to work in all weather and lighting conditions.
You don’t have to worry that your next Toyota Camry will be tracking your face to this level, however, at least not yet. Driver Sense is currently targeted mostly at truckers, municipal workers and bus drivers.
The company says that the extra hours on the road and increased workload can lead to drowsiness and believes that its facial recognition systems will help save lives. It works closely with logistics companies in China running in hundreds of thousands of trucks, and says that its tech will be coming to the United States soon.
In China and other parts of Asia, mask use has been much more prevalent over the years than here in the U.S., and that’s expected to continue as more people return to work post-COVID-19. In terms of how the updates will reach vehicles, the company’s systems are integrated closely with the trucks’ existing computer hardware and software, so if the truck is able to receive over-the-air updates, the Eyesight unit will be updated with it. Otherwise, updates will occur with the annual maintenance schedule at a dealer or shop.
Health officials and tech moguls alike have said that aggressive testing, monitoring and tracking will be necessary for the world to return to "normal" as we battle through the pandemic. Expect this kind of thing to be the new normal, whether we like it or not.
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