5 reasons Tobii’s driver monitoring system is the best around

  • by Gunnar Troili
  • 10 min

Tobii DMS demo car

Are you a good driver? Let’s be honest; we all like to think so!

But what if I told you that being a good driver simply isn’t enough to stay safe on the roads? Unforeseeable hazards and unpredictable road users have created an environment in which even the most competent drivers are susceptible to mistakes, and the mistakes of others. Studies show that even in 2023, more than 90% of road traffic accidents are caused by some form of human error. So, if even the most cautious drivers are susceptible to collisions, how are we ever going to get traffic accidents down?

The rise of safety systems

Driver monitoring systems (DMS) are the next leap forward for car safety. These software solutions use specialized cameras to measure the attention of the driver to detect distraction or drowsiness. This then prompts certain alerts and in-cabin changes to safely guide the driver’s full focus back to the road. These systems bridge a critical gap in road safety infrastructure; the inconstancy of human focus.

Road traffic study

DMS solutions have been available for a while, but until now, have been premium features of high-end cars. Now, with regulatory legislation coming into force across the world, they’re mandated. At Tobii, we’re the best at eye tracking and attention computing technology - the building blocks of any good DMS solution. We knew we had the experience and technology to go a step beyond; a DMS solution that is more reliable, more user-friendly, and more fit to adapt to the changing automotive landscape.

So, what really sets Tobii DMS apart from the competition? Here are 5 key reasons why it’s the best on the market:

1. 22+ years in the game

Over more than two decades in the eye tracking and attention computing business, we’ve learned a thing or two… we’ve also invented a thing or two! We made the world’s first plug-and-play eye tracker, and since then, we’ve been reimagining what it means to truly understand attention and intent.

Tobii AB Annual report 2022

Our company is built on innovation, and so is our DMS. Tobii DMS monitors gaze across a wide field of view using a single camera thanks to the powerful DMS core, which translates thousands of camera images into driver-state signals. Gaze point, eye openness, and head pose can be measured in real-time thanks to our unrivalled understanding of eye tracking technology. There’s no clearer indication that we’ve developed a leading system than the fact that we recently achieved a design win, beginning a collaboration with Germany’s largest Tier 1 automotive company!

But our DMS journey doesn’t stop there; we push the envelope on what a DMS can and should be. By investing 40% of our turnover back into R&D, we’re always expanding our understanding of various mental states and how they affect safety. Tobii DMS is a solution you can expect to get better and better.  

woman driving a car

2. Tobii DMS works for more people in more scenarios

Driver monitoring isn’t much good unless it works for all people, wherever they are.

Factoring in a broad range of face shapes, eye shapes, and eye color into the data collection at the core of Tobii DMS means that the software detects drowsiness and distraction regardless of ethnicity. We have a special advantage here, having had a lot of experience collecting data for eye tracking solutions, which means we’ve built comprehensive population coverage. Essentially, Tobii DMS works for everyone.

Population coverage is just one side of the story. Whether it’s 2 a.m. and cloudy or the middle of a bright summer's afternoon, the infrared cameras need to recognize cognitive states reliably. Reflected light, flashes, and shadows all test the strength of the signal your DMS is receiving, so it’s important that the software can recognize the difference between an eye closing and a change in the light. With Tobii DMS, the sheer strength of the data the system is built on helps it ride out changes in lighting without disrupting the sensor or causing a false alarm.

Speaking of sunny days, what happens if you’re wearing a baseball cap or even a pair of sunglasses? Our software is built to encompass a whole range of hats, glasses, and face masks - so even if you’re dressed to rob a bank, the DMS will make sure you get there!

Human factors and engineering

3. A better user experience

Driver monitoring systems are becoming legally required features across the world, but that doesn’t mean they should be solely focused on utility. DMS solutions need to work for the driver, so clunky and intrusive hardware is a no-go.

We’ve designed our system to function flawlessly in tandem with the driver, not in conflict with them. The single-camera system, enabled by an AI core, doesn’t obstruct any part of the road from view and isn’t prominent enough to cause any kind of physical nuisance. The driver maintains their natural behavior allowing them to focus on the road - out of sight, out of mind!

But user experience isn’t just about keeping the hardware out of the way, it’s about stopping the software shouting at you when you’ve done nothing wrong. Tobii DMS is designed to prevent false positives and mistakes, so you’re not distracted by a system trying to help you out. Our DMS is always working, but you’ll only know it’s there when it’s actually needed.

Car assembly line

4. Flexibility for manufacturers

When someone buys a Lexus, they buy it because Lexus has designed the car. When car manufacturers have to compromise on their vision to incorporate technology that doesn’t consider them, the whole design project takes a knock. We don’t let that happen. Our focus is on giving manufacturers as much control over how they integrate the DMS as possible.

Our solution is software-based, and it’s powerful software at that. This means we can offer our system to more cars, regardless of their hardware specifications and camera choice. Not only does Tobii DMS work with more equipment, but it can also be positioned in more places; almost anywhere in the front of the car is suitable for the camera, with no reduction in signal quality!

And with flexibility, comes affordability. When car designers have more choices, they are more in control of their budget. That means far greater operational efficiency for the manufacturers, and customers get amazing cars that are the way they were meant to be. Our DMS doesn’t get in the way, and neither do we.

Tobii Driver monitoring system - traffic

5. In it for the long-haul

We’ve been around the block a few times – and we’re going to go around a few more! Our DMS isn’t built just for now, it’s built ready for the future and a constantly changing market.

One of the more noticeable shifts right now is in the rise of autonomous vehicles. Semi-driverless cars are impressive but are a way off from eliminating the driver entirely, meaning DMS solutions will be required to supplement the gaps between driver and computer control. As a software solution designed for adaptability, Tobii DMS is in a prime position to help manufacturers of autonomous cars develop bespoke systems that make sharing control with the car’s computer a seamless task.

And it’s not just the DMS that’s built for the future; Tobii is as well. Long-term relationships with clients are part of our history, and we like it that way. By collaborating over the long term, we help manufacturers achieve a vision for their car design that might require lengthy development. Well, we’re not going anywhere!

smart cars

A DMS for the future

We’re something of a recent entrant into the automotive space, but when it comes to the technology that driver monitoring is built upon, they don’t come any more established than Tobii.

The DMS we’ve built has been designed with the driver in mind; the user experience and power of the signal testify to that. But there’s more to consider if you want to make a system that’s suitable for more cars and ready for the future. Building Tobii DMS as a flexible software solution means manufacturers are able to let their design shine through.

Tobii DMS is a complex piece of technology, but our mission in the automotive industry is not: Advanced vehicles and safer roads – it doesn’t get much better than that.

Want to find out more about Tobii’s driver monitoring system? Visit our
Tobii DMS page to find out how we’re making the roads safer for everyone.

Written by

  • Gunnar Troili Senior Vice President Engineering

    Gunnar Troili

    SVP Engineering and Automotive Segment

    Gunnar Troili has been senior vice president of Engineering at Tobii since 2016, and of Automotive since 2023. He joined Tobii in 2001, directly after his university studies, as Tobii’s first algorithm developer. He has played a strategic role at Tobii, having held different roles within R&D and algorithm development, helping the company become a global leader. Gunnar holds an MSc in engineering physics from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

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