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Meet Tobii: Our Founding Partner unleashing innovation at InCabin USA

We caught up with Steve Swartz, Vice President of Sales, Americas for Tobii, for a full update on our Founding Partner from their acquisition of DTS Autosense to their plans for future technology. Don’t miss Steve’s opening keynote at InCabin USA on Innovation Unleashed: Meet Tobii Autosense.

1) What is Tobii?

Tobii is a multinational technology company based in Stockholm with over 20 years of experience in eye tracking technology and the global leader in attention computing. Tobii’s mission is to improve the world with technology that understands human attention and intent. At Tobii, we’re committed to revolutionizing human-computer interactions through innovative solutions across a broad range of industries.

Our world-leading eye tracking capabilities have innovated healthcare, academia, gaming, and education. Technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced signal processing are at the heart of our advancements in eye tracking.

2) What drew Tobii to the automotive industry?

Tobii’s primary purpose is to create technology for a better future, which we’ve accomplished through eye-tracking-powered innovations in cognitive-behavioral research, healthcare diagnostics and treatment, and individualized education, among many others. We believe that our expertise in eye tracking and attention computing can have the same impact on the automotive industry.

In 2022, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,300 people were killed in fatal accidents involving distracted drivers in the United States alone. Hundreds of thousands more were injured in non-fatal accidents. Globally, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years, according to the World Health Organization.

We’re seeing regulatory bodies move towards mandating computer vision solutions that monitor driver behavior and attention to mitigate these impacts. When this transition happens, brands will have the choice to either simply comply with the required regulations or go above and beyond what is expected of them.

Tobii believes we could apply our passion for creating technology for a better future and expertise around user-centered innovation to help brands go above and beyond to make driving smarter and safer, one car at a time. We believe we can make a positive difference in this industry and are committed to playing a leading role in these efforts.

3) Why did the company believe Autosense was the right acquisition target?

Autosense’s extensive experience with Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) and trailblazing accomplishments with Occupant Monitoring Systems (OMS) was the perfect complement to Tobii’s decades-long experience with eye tracking and attention computing. When our team examined the ways in which our combined expertise would advance Tobii’s product offerings, it became clear this was the right decision for our business and the industry at large.

4) What makes Tobii Autosense different from other D/OMS technologies?

The key difference between Tobii Autosense and other competing products is the accuracy and flexibility of our systems. We have over 20 years of experience developing the industry’s most advanced eye tracking and attention computing products; our technology supports the widest variation of eye shapes, color, and retinal reflectivity, and works regardless of ambient light and user movement. This means eye tracking and attention data captured by Tobii’s products is the highest quality and most accurate and precise of any D/OMS product on the market. In an industry where fractions of an inch and a millisecond matter immensely for safety outcomes, this is critical.

5) Why should automotive manufacturers integrate Tobii Autosense into their vehicles?

In general, interior sensing solutions can provide automotive manufacturers with three major benefits: safer cars, a better occupant experience, and compliance with laws and regulations. With automotive safety regulations on the horizon, such as the EU regulation that requires all new cars from mid-2024 to be equipped with a driver distraction warning system, these systems will help manufacturers meet those requirements. With the US federal government exploring similar regulations, we expect mandates for interior sensing technology to impact American automakers soon as well.

When looking at the benefits of Tobii Autosense specifically, manufacturers want products that are low-cost, compliant, and have fast integration and updates – in other words, when acquiring and deploying interior sensing tools, the less fuss, the better.

We have designed every aspect of the Tobii Autosense integration and deployment process to be as easy and flexible as possible, while still providing industry-leading capabilities. For example, our product allows manufacturers to provide a premium interior sensing product from a single rear view mirror (RVM) camera, unlike some of our competitors, which have much more prescriptive requirements.

Not only does this cut down on the required investment in hardware and number of design hardpoints compared to a multi-camera system, the RVM placement can actually provide improved functionality through better image capture quality. We’re able to provide this improved flexibility and functionality based on the unparalleled strength of our eye tracking and attention computing systems, built on more than two decades of experience and iterative, user-centered innovation.

6) Why should consumers seek out vehicles with the Tobii Autosense platform?

The key benefits of Tobii Autosense for consumers are improvements in safety and occupant experience. Interior sensing systems can help ensure drivers remain focused on the road, so they don’t endanger themselves or others. The system can also help alert drivers who may be too drowsy or otherwise unable to operate a vehicle safely, helping cut down on accidents and risky driving behaviors.

Our technologies improve the occupant experience by helping manufacturers design car interiors that are safer and more comfortable. For example, Tobii worked with Spanish automotive manufacturer SEAT to design a center console information system that could be easily interacted with at a glance, allowing drivers and passengers to do everything from check the navigation system to change the air conditioning as easily as possible. This not only improves safety for the driver but makes the system easier to navigate for less tech-savvy passengers.

Additionally, our data pipeline is GDPR compliant, ensuring consumers never have to worry about the safety and security of their data. We are committed to providing interior sensing solutions that appropriately safeguard personal information and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

7) What’s next for Tobii Autosense?

In addition to the ways Tobii Autosense is already making driving safer and more enjoyable, we believe our platform will spur further technical innovation that will change the automotive industry forever. We fully believe that this is the beginning of a paradigm shift in the market and are committed to continuing to drive innovation in the automotive interior sensing industry to see this belief become a reality.

One exciting emerging technology we’re examining right now is sensor fusion – or combining the capabilities of multiple sensors into one piece of hardware – the only way truly complex interior sensing use cases can be enabled in-vehicle. We are actively working on a proof of concept for thermal and neuromorphic sensors that would bring innovative health and biometrics applications to our product suite.

The company will continue expanding and refining the capabilities of Tobii Autosense by closely partnering with automotive manufacturers to ensure it provides the accuracy, capabilities, and flexibility they need to meet their safety and occupant experience goals, while unlocking innovative use cases that push the industry forward. Together, we will drive into a safer, smarter, and more connected world.

Don’t miss key conversations at InCabin USA this May. Get your pass here.


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