As vehicles become an integral part of the Internet of Things, Ford and
are researching new opportunities for the connected car, including giving
drivers the ability to remotely peer into their car using a smartphone, or a
vehicle that could identify its owner using facial recognition software.
The joint research project, called Mobile Interior Imaging, or Project Mobii,
explores how interior-facing cameras could be integrated with sensor
technology and data already generated within and around the vehicle to create
a more personalized and seamless interaction between driver and vehicle that
transforms the driving experience.
The Mobii research was a collaboration between
anthropologists and engineers alongside Ford research engineers, and
incorporates perceptual computing technology to offer a more enjoyable and
intuitive vehicle experience.
“Our goal with the Mobii research is to explore how drivers interact with
technology in the car and how we can then make that interaction more intuitive
and predictive,” said
purely research at this point; however, the insights we've gained will help us
shape the customer experience in the long term.”
Ford now uses exterior vehicle cameras for driver-assist features such as
lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning. The Mobii research examines
new applications for interior cameras, including driver authentication. The
use of facial recognition software offers improved privacy controls, and
enables Project Mobii to identify different drivers and automatically adjust
features based on an individual's preferences.
“As a trusted technology leader and innovator,
challenges automakers are facing and is a committed partner in this
unprecedented opportunity,” said
collaborating with Ford to help enable a secure, more connected driving
Improved privacy and parental controls
Upon entering the vehicle, the driver is authenticated by Project Mobii
through a front-facing camera using facial recognition software. The in-car
experience is then personalized to display information specific to that
driver, such as calendar, music and contacts. If Project Mobii detects a
passenger in the car, a privacy mode activates to display only navigation.
If Project Mobii does not recognize the driver, a photo is sent to the primary
vehicle owner's smartphone. That owner can then set permissions and specify
features that should be enabled or disabled. If the driver is the child of the
vehicle owner, for example, restrictions could be automatically set to require
safety belt use and to limit speed, audio volume or mobile phone use while
Gesture recognition software enables intuitive interaction for the driver. A
combination of natural gestures and simple voice commands can simplify such
tasks as turning the heat up and down, or opening and closing a sunroof while
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