Jaguar Land Rover revealed a pioneering new safety technology at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The Driver Monitor System, developed in conjunction with Seeing Machines and Intel, has the potential to set a new benchmark in road safety.
The software uses attention-monitoring sensors in a vehicle's dashboard to detect eye and facial movements, allowing it to identify if the driver has become inattentive, either due to drowsiness or distraction. It is so sophisticated it can understand the state of the driver in real world conditions, including bright sunlight and if the driver is wearing glasses or sunglasses.
DMS was developed at Jaguar Land Rover's new R&D facility in Portland, Oregon, and while it was demonstrated in a Jaguar F-Type prototype, Nick Langdale-Smith, Vice President of Seeing Machines, believes the technology holds huge potential for other Land Rover vehicles.
He said: "The algorithm we have developed for DMS has the potential to seamlessly enable a host of safety and autonomous driving features and reduce the potential for accidents caused by the driver not paying attention.
"DMS is unique because it is the only driver monitoring system that can achieve this even if the driver is wearing shades, or in full sunshine."
Mr. Langdale-Smith's enthusiasm was echoed up by Dr Wolfgang Ziebart, Engineering Director of Jaguar Land Rover.
He said: "The attention-monitoring technology we are showcasing at CES has huge potential for road safety.
"If the driver's gaze moves towards the infotainment screen or out of a side window, and the car identifies this, then the system could alert the driver to hazards earlier.
"DMS could even enhance settings in safety systems like Autonomous Emergency Braking, to reflect the driver's lack of attention. As the car drives up to a hazard, the brakes could engage autonomously sooner because the car realises the driver has not seen the danger ahead."
Long term, DMS could also help the car share information with the driver more effectively. Jaguar Land Rover is currently researching a next-generation heads-up display that could utilise the full width of the windscreen, and present the right information to the driver at the right time, without them having to take their eyes off the road.
"Whether we are projecting a transparent view of the bonnet, or helping the driver to navigate by following a ghost car, it would be very useful to understand exactly when the driver's eyes aren't actually looking at the windscreen to see this information, so it can be repeated or shared in a different way," added Dr Ziebart.