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Focusing drivers' attention on driving

John Day

John Day

Posted Jan 16, 2012

 It was a big deal less than two years ago for Delphi Automotive to show how a driver could bring a cell phone into a vehicle and interact with the phone’s apps on the car’s display screen – all of them when the vehicle was parked and only the appropriate ones when the car was moving.

Since then the effort to enable the use of smartphones in cars without distracting drivers has expanded to incorporate cameras and sensors able to detect, synthesize and interpret what’s going on inside and outside the vehicle. “The right connectivity for the right information at the right time and the right place,” says Kathy Winter, general director of Advanced Engineering and Software & Services at Delphi’s Electronics & Safety division.

At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, Delphi demonstrated the integration of user interface, infotainment, safety and connectivity technology in its MyFi™ Connecting with Safety vehicle.

“There are trade-offs between what drivers want, and what’s safe,” Winter says. “Research shows that if a driver’s attention remains focused within a 20-degree field-of-view immediately ahead of the vehicle, accidents caused by inattention are less likely to occur.  By using reconfigurable and hi-mounted displays, text-to-speech, speech-to-text, touch screens, and a driver-optimized center stack, Delphi is helping to focus drivers’ eyes on the road and keep their hands on the wheel.”

It’s estimated that texting increases the likelihood of accidents by 23 percent, so Delphi is working to improve the quality of text to speech and speech to text to make keyboard text entry unnecessary. “We are working on driver state monitoring – determining if the driver’s eyes are on the road or they may be falling asleep and drifting out of their lane,” Winter adds.

“We need to be aware of the driver’s condition and the external conditions, for workload assessment, to know what to disable, when, for safety. We’ve developed a lot of technology for these purposes, and we are pulling all of that together to manage HMI. We’re looking for the right middle ground for consumers, society, and the OEM.”

workload assessment, Smartphones, Delphi automotive, Delphi's Electronics & Safety Division, 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, Kathy Winter, MyFi Connecting with Safety vehicle, distracting drivers, driver state monitoring

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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