June 25, 2024
Technology

General Motors applies for patent on system for assessing mental health

General Motors has applied to patent a technology that takes driver-monitoring to a new level. The automaker outlined a system that analyzes the driver’s behavior by reading data sent by onboard sensors — and can have the car take over if it detects unsafe behavior.

Filed in November 2022, and published in May 2024, the patent describes a “vehicle occupant mental well-being assessment and counter-measure deployment” system. The technology was developed by a General Motors subsidiary named GM Global Technology Operations, and it aims to intervene when it detects that stress — regardless of where it comes from — can affect the driver’s ability to operate the car.

The system monitors various aspects of driving behavior to determine if the driver is behaving erratically. This includes analyzing stop-start frequency, hard braking, hard accelerating, hard cornering, and excessive honking. Additionally, it assesses actions such as obeying traffic signs, tailgating, and grip strength on the steering wheel.

If the system detects unsafe behavior, it can prompt the driver to perform mental health exercises, contact a friend or family member, seek therapy from a professional, or even connect with a trained advisor. Alternatively, it may autonomously control certain driving functions of the vehicle using onboard electronic driving aids.

General Motors has not provided any comments on the potential deployment of this driver-monitoring system. It’s important to note that a patent application does not guarantee that the described technology will be implemented in production vehicles.

FAQ

Q: What does the driver-monitoring system developed by General Motors aim to achieve?

A: The system aims to intervene when it detects that stress, regardless of its source, may impact the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.

Q: How does the system determine unsafe driving behavior?

A: The system analyzes various driving behaviors, such as stop-start frequency, hard braking, hard accelerating, hard cornering, and excessive honking, to identify erratic driving patterns.

Conclusion

General Motors’ innovative driver-monitoring technology represents a significant advancement in automotive safety. By prioritizing the mental well-being of drivers, the system has the potential to enhance road safety and prevent accidents caused by impaired driving. While the deployment of this technology is uncertain, its development underscores the ongoing efforts of automakers to incorporate advanced safety features into their vehicles.

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