Subaru’s DriverFocus tech can help stop distracted driving

Published: February 28, 2019

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Law enforcement and insurance companies have been left scratching their heads trying to figure out distracted driving. Despite campaign and harsh punishments, drivers continue to pick up their devices behind the wheel. So, any new tactic to catch distracted drivers is welcome.

With that in mind, a mid-sized sedan featuring a camera that watches motorist’s faces may be a potent tool. Subaru is launching its 2020 Legacy sedan this fall that will feature the company’s DriverFocus technology.

Julie Lychak, public relations manager for Subaru Canada, said the system monitors the driver’s face. If it detects the driver looks away from the front of the windscreen for too long, or seems sleepy, an alarm sounds in the car. Additionally, a warning is displayed saying “Keep eyes on the road”.

Subaru used technology similar to Apple Face ID. Whereas Cupertino uses the tech to let users unlock their iPhone X devices with their face, the vehicle uses to keep drivers attentive.

“It’s a facial recognition software to identify signs of driver fatigue or driver distraction.”

It is worth noting the DriverFocus technology is already available in a vehicle, specifically the 2019 Subaru Forester company SUV, which arrived last year. The company says the tech can help combat distracted driving as it will catch drivers who are looking at their device.

Increasing distracted driving numbers suggest law enforcement, legal penalties, and increased insurance premiums do not deter motorists. Perhaps a form of self-monitoring is needed. Subaru is not the only company developing this kind of technology, but Lychak says no other non-luxury vehicle currently has the tech included.

It seems obvious that eventually this kind of alert system will become a fairly standard addition to most cars, but for now Subaru is trailblazing in the affordable car range.