More and more car manufacturers want to increase road safety with systems that monitor the driver. Göteborg-based Smart Eye has secured contracts with several car companies for its technology that analyzes drivers' eye movements. Headquartered on Sweden’s west coast, the company already has offices in the a U.S.—where else but in Ann Arbor, Michigan—and China and Japan.

Modern cars have cameras, radar and lidar systems directed outward to detect obstacles so a car can for instance auto brake, stay in a lane or adjust the speed to the car ahead. Smart Eye’s so-called eye-tracking technology, however, uses a camera that is turned inward toward the driver and reads the movements of the eyes. In the future, it may be obvious for cars to give warnings and make adjustments when drivers show signs of fatigue and lowered concentration by rubbing their eyes, looking around more often and increased blinking. The system could warn the driver with sound and light, connect to a telephone service or even make the car brake and stop at the roadside. The car manufacturer decides how the information is to be used; six different manufacturers including BMW have reportedly selected Smart Eye for around 40 car models. And it's a reasonably priced system—the manufacturer expects $6-$11 per car.

The safety organization European New Car Assessment Program, NCAP, which does crash tests, has decided driver monitoring will be included in its classifications from 2020. The lawmakers are also pushing for change: The EU plans to make distraction warnings and several other security systems compulsory in all new cars starting in 2022. For more info, see www.smarteye.se