Denso & FotoNation to Partner on Automotive Image Recognition Technology

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【Summary】Automotive technology supplier Denso Corp. has announced joint technology agreement to develop cabin sensing innovations with image recognition technology developer FotoNation Ltd., a subsidiary of Xperi Corp. The partnership will help Denso improve the performance of its Driver Status Monitor.

Original   Eric Walz  ·  Nov 03, 2017 10:41 AM PT
author: Eric Walz   

KARIYA, Japan, — Automotive technology supplier Denso Corp. has announced joint technology agreement to develop cabin sensing innovations with image recognition technology developer FotoNation Ltd., a subsidiary of Xperi Corp.

The partnership will help Denso improve the performance of its Driver Status Monitor, an active safety product currently used in commercial vehicles. Improvements of such products also will accelerate the development of next-generation products to be used in passenger vehicles, including a system to help drivers transition back to manual driving mode during Level 3 of autonomous driving.

Denso's Drive Status Monitor detects a driver's face angle, the length they keep their eyes closed, and head position to determine if a driver is in danger of falling asleep or distracted behind the wheel. If the monitor detects that the driver may be distracted or drowsy, a warning will appear and/or the system might adjust the direction of the side mirrors and information displays to improve overall safety, comfort and convenience.

The collaboration will combine Denso's experience in cabin sensing innovations with FotoNation's facial image recognition and neural network technologies. The agreement aims to achieve sophisticated driver status detection, which will not be affected by differences between individual faces or by sunglasses, masks and other facial coverings in the vehicle cabin where environmental light changes dramatically.

Using FotoNation's facial image recognition and neural networks technologies will allow detection of more features instead of using the conventional detection method based on the relative positions of the eyes, nose, mouth and other facial regions.

Denso will develop new functions, such as those to detect the driver's gaze direction and facial expressions more accurately, to understand the state of mind of the driver in order to help create more comfortable vehicles.

"Understanding the status of the driver and engaging them at the right time is an important component for enabling the future of autonomous driving," said Yukihiro Kato, senior executive director of the information and safety systems business group of Denso. "I believe this collaboration with Xperi will help accelerate our innovative ADAS product development by bringing together the unique expertise of both our companies."

"We are excited to partner with Denso to innovate in such a dynamic field," said Jon Kirchner, CEO of Xperi. "This partnership will play a significant role in paving the way to the ultimate goal of safer roadways through use of our imaging and facial analytics technologies and Denso's vast experience in the space."

Denso is a global automotive supplier of advanced automotive technology and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information and safety. FotoNation is a developer of next-generation computational imaging algorithms.

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