Bosch’s Vision: Unlocking the Potential of In-Car Eye-Tracking Beyond Safety

Eye-tracking tech has been making its way into cars for years as a safety feature, especially with the rise of driver assistance software. Now, Bosch thinks the tech could offer some other benefits – and it’s showing off two ideas this week at CES 2024 in Las Vegas. The first scenario is pretty straightforward (and very European): You’re driving home and the car recognizes that you’re looking pretty drowsy. The other is far more complicated: Eye-tracking tech could be used during your drive to figure out what points of interest you’re looking at, and the car could offer contextual information. Since Bosch is merely a supplier here, it’s up to the automakers to decide if – and more importantly, how – it wants to implement these ideas.

The first idea is relatively straightforward (and a bit of a nod to its European roots). Imagine you’re driving home after a long day on the road and your car recognizes that you’re starting to feel drowsy. Suddenly, a notification pops on your display asking, “would you like a freshly brewed espresso when you arrive at your destination?” You enthusiastically respond in the affirmative, and upon walking through your front door, you’re met with the pleasing aroma of a piping hot cup of coffee, prepared by your shiny Bosch (or another brand) connected automatic espresso machine. Sounds like a dream, right?

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The second concept is a bit more complex: utilizing eye-tracking technology to determine which points of interest you may be gazing towards while on your drive, and providing relevant contextual information. Perhaps you’re driving past a charming castle on the horizon (again, a nod to its European origins), and your car promptly informs you of its rich history and significance. Or maybe you’re passing by a restaurant, and the car displays its hours of operation for your convenience. The possibilities are endless, and quite compelling.

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Advanced technologies are often initially introduced for practical, everyday applications, but can then inspire a whole host of new possibilities. The key factor is how these technologies are ultimately utilized and integrated into our lives.

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    Here are some potential ways automakers could implement these ideas:

    • Develop a comprehensive eye-tracking point-of-interest system that can accurately pinpoint a driver’s gaze and provide relevant information.
    • Use this system to potentially incorporate targeted advertising, especially as they continue to refine and introduce hands-free and even eyes-free driver assistance software.
    • Find ways to effectively mitigate phone usage while driving, potentially utilizing this technology as an alternative means of obtaining information on-the-go.

    Stefan Buerkle, the regional president for Bosch USA, shared in an interview that “pushing advertisements into the car is the opposite of reducing driver distraction” – although he doesn’t rule it out entirely. Per Buerkle, the potential benefits of this technology could potentially outweigh any drawbacks, particularly if it serves as a means of reducing phone usage while behind the wheel.

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    A futuristic car displaying information on its windshield
    Cutting-edge technology in cars has the potential to greatly enhance our driving experiences.

It’s no surprise that many consumers today crave immediate access to information, especially while on the go. And in today’s fast-paced society, cars play an integral role in our daily lives, making it a prime platform for this type of advanced technology. So while these ideas may be early on in their development, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them become a reality in the near future.

Ultimately, the implementation and incorporation of these eye-tracking technologies will largely depend on the automakers themselves. Bosch’s suggestions serve as a starting point, and it’s exciting to think about the various directions and possibilities that big-name automakers may take with this technology. The important thing is to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, while also carefully balancing practicality and addressing any potential concerns.

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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