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Driver Monitoring Systems – An Update

by Kevin Mak | Oct 26, 2016

Strategy Analytics has spoken to Jungo Connectivity, a recent spin-off from Cisco Systems based in Netanya, Israel, which is going to change its business strategy from supplying portable device connectivity in automotive infotainment systems to the development of automotive driver monitoring systems (DMS). 

With growing competition from Android Auto and Apple Car Play in infotainment connectivity, Jungo Connectivity has identified the growing demand for driver monitoring as semi-autonomous applications are being developed and the increase in incidents of distracted driving.

  • Semi-autonomous applications, such as highway cruise control, require the driver to be alert when controls are handed back to the driver.  Only an interior camera-based DMS can provide for safe handover.
  • Emergency stop systems are also being developed, should the driver become incapacitated.   Sensors on wearable devices are challenging to implement.
  • Distracted drivers, such as driving when using a mobile phone, are one of the causes of roadway fatalities.  A recent estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows a 10.4 percent increase in US roadway fatalities in 2016 and that combatting driver distraction is likely to bring about a reduction to those fatalities.

Jungo Connectivity’s strategy in developing DMS is to utilize existing automotive chipsets, standard automotive cameras (VGA resolution, 30 fps) and infrared LED illumination that are already in mass production, in order to bring about affordability in the final system and supply flexibility for Tier 1 and OEM customers – the same strategy adopted by EDGE3, a company based in Arizona, as was reported by Strategy Analytics back in August 2016 in the insight, EDGE3: Sensor Fusion Making Driver Monitoring More Affordable.

  • Otherwise, by using high resolution imagers, like Tobii; proprietary chip sets, like Seeing Machines; and by using costlier 3D Time-of-Flight imagers, like SoftKinetic, then this raises system cost and limits DMS deployment to the luxury-branded, high model segments.  Further details on the different approaches to interior camera-based DMS can be found in the Strategy Analytics report, Semi-Autonomous Applications Accelerate Development in Automotive Driver Monitoring Systems.
  • Using low resolution imagers does not put EDGE3 and Jungo Connectivity in a disadvantage because both companies will use sensor fusion to enhance the accuracy of their DMS offerings – often using sensors from mandated safety systems, such as airbags, antilock brakes and electronic stability control.

Nearly all Tier 1 vendors are evaluating Jungo’s DMS, including Faurecia that demonstrated its second generation Active Wellness seat and Smart Pebbles cockpit concepts at the 2016 Paris Auto Show.  Should Jungo be successful in attracting business, extensive road testing will be required to ensure its reliability.  So the earliest deployment could come by 2019 or 2020, the same timeframe as EDGE3.

  • Jungo has been developing DMS since it spun-off from Cisco in May 2013.
  • The C-Sample version (the approval phase after validation) of Jungo DMS has recently become available for evaluation by Tier 1 vendors and OEMs.
  • The DMS consists of head detection, head positioning, eye gaze detection and automatic calibration – to cover different driver heights and head shapes.
  • Additional functions being developed include facial recognition and anti-spoofing – for security systems and driver emotion recognition.   While requirements are mainly for DMS, these additional functions may be offered in future interior camera systems.
  • Jungo is gearing its business to supply OEMs.  Dialogue has just begun with insurance companies about the possibility of supplying fleets through the aftermarket and the need for a hardware partner to support such a possible business.

Like EDGE3, Jungo only supplies the software algorithms for DMS and only sends minimum requirements for the imager and processing chip set to the Tier 1 and OEM customer, who carry out the sensor fusion and system implementation for DMS.

  • Semiconductor partners include Freescale (now NXP), Intel, NVIDIA and Renesas from its earlier business in infotainment connectivity.
  • With minimum chip set requirements, there is no further requirement to add more memory to the standard chip set to store Jungo’s algorithms.
  • Jungo algorithms can be updated to enhance DMS accuracy.

The result of which points to an early deployment of DMS from high cost systems with high resolution imagers, followed by more mass market offerings in the 2020 timeframe, possibly by EDGE3 and Jungo.


Updated Interior Camera Driver Monitoring Systems Forecast, Strategy Analytics, October 2016

Also, further reports from Seeing Machines suggest that its automotive DMS spin-off, called Fovio, has been delayed.

  • Instead of spinning-off in June 2016, Fovio is set to spin-off in December 2016, but Seeing Machines can carry the cost of Fovio’s operations until the end of June 2017.
  • The spin-off may not be in the best interests of Seeing Machines, as CEO Ken Kroeger, said, “We have invested another A$4 million into automotive since year end and we’re not necessarily going to get more equity for that.  In parallel to that, that $4m has delivered a whole lot of outcomes that we might not want to give away to somebody else and we are out there pursuing business that we could win between now and Christmas that would increase the value of the company, and which we might not want to give away at the current valuation.”  By not pursuing a spin-off, Seeing Machines can restructure its business to retain its automotive DMS business and prevent a competitor from using its technology.

With its Tier 1 partner, Takata, currently dealing with the faulty airbag crisis, Strategy Analytics believes the delay coincides with finding a suitable replacement Tier 1 partner to bring forward Seeing Machines automotive business to market.

  • The spin-off of Fovio is not particularly critical to Seeing Machines, given that it continues to earn profits from selling fleet DMS for off-road applications, such as Caterpillar mining equipment. 
  • The lack of competition in automotive DMS may raise value in Fovio and make it less likely for Seeing Machines to spin-off.
  • Seeing Machines is still poised to have the first-to-market advantage over its DMS rivals, given its experience in the off-road DMS business and leveraging its chip set supply in other industry sectors. 
  • Seeing Machines’ strategy is different from EDGE3 and Jungo as it aims to bring the most reliable “best-in-class” DMS to the automotive market, where the DENSO-Aisin system at Toyota has failed to gain traction beyond the Lexus LS flagship sedan.
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