Volvo could offer driver-facing camera as an option [update]
Would you like to be filmed while you drive?
Update: Volvo has contacted us to point out a number of errors in the original Car magazine report. "Atif Rafiq was discussing what camera technologies potentially can do in terms of safety features such as attentiveness detection in the future, however Volvo Cars does not have any plans for driver-facing cameras or related features this year," the company wrote in a statement. Our original story follows.
Volvo buyers will have the option of ordering their new car with a built-in driver-facing camera before the end of 2019. This technology sounds very 1984-esque, but the Swedish firm promises it will make driving safer and more relaxing.
"[Driver-facing cameras] are very advanced these days: they can determine a driver's glucose levels by looking at their pupils, so it could call a loved one or hospital if it detected a health problem. Cars will understand your state and destress you on your way back from work," said Atif Rafiq, Volvo's chief digital officer, in an interview with British magazine Car.
Volvo doesn't think motorists will mind being filmed as they drive. Rafiq stressed the footage will be anonymous, and it won't be shared with anyone (e.g., law enforcement or insurance companies). There's no word yet on who (if anyone) at Volvo will have access to it. The firm has been testing the technology for several years, and its research shows drivers ultimately learn to trust the camera.
Putting a camera in a Volvo also opens the door to facial recognition technology. For example, an XC90 equipped with the optional camera will know whether the owner, his wife, or their kid is behind the wheel, and will adjust parameters like the climate control settings, the radio station, and the seat position accordingly.
Car learned Volvo will begin offering the driver-facing camera as an option in 2019. Pricing information hasn't been announced yet, and the company hasn't confirmed U.S. availability. We don't know what the device will look like, either. The photo above shows an early prototype, and the final product will hopefully be better integrated into the car's interior.