Texting and Driving? Not So Fast -- General Motors is Watching You

The automobile company is reportedly installing monitoring devices in its cars to ensure drivers keep their eyes on the road.

learn more about Nina Zipkin

By Nina Zipkin

Companies like Tesla and Google have their eyes on self-driving cars. But while humans are still behind the wheel, General Motors is turning to eye-tracking, facial recognition tech to make the streets a bit safer.

The Financial Times reports GM is planning to install machines in about half a million cars that will track drivers' eye and head movements to cut down on distracted and tired driving. GM would be the first automobile maker to include this type of tech on a wide scale.

Related: Pair of Apple Patents Aims to Answer: 'Where'd I Park My Car?'

The tracking devices GM would be using are made by an Australian company called Seeing Machines. In a release today, Seeing Machines announced a partnership with Takata, a Japanese auto safety company, noting "Takata has recently secured a contract to deliver its first ever mass-manufactured implementation of a drive-monitoring system."

Last year, Seeing Machines signed a deal with construction vehicle manufacturer Caterpillar to install systems in 40,000 of the company's mining trucks that sense when drivers aren't looking at the road or are falling asleep at the wheel and alert them with an alarm and a vibrating seat.

Related: Building a Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Network at Age 27

The move comes at a time when both GM and Takata have faced a good deal of scrutiny. Last week, Honda recalled 63,200 cars due to defective Takata air bag inflators, following similiar recalls from Toyota, BMW and GM. GM CEO Mary Barra appeared before Congress this summer in hearings about the company's delayed recall of cars with a faulty ignition switch.

The emphasis on driver safety makes sense, but Seeing Machine's investment in sensing technology that can monitor a driver's vital signs will no doubt raise concerns about privacy.

Seeing Machines and General Motors did not respond to a request for comment.

Related: How $10,000 Can Score You a Self-Driving Car (Sort Of)

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Marketing

6 Ways to Wring All the Value from Your Earned Media Coverage

Press coverage can help your brand gain visibility and increase credibility — but not if no one sees it. What can you do to get more value from the media placements you've worked so hard to earn?

Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.

Business Solutions

What Bill Gates and Steve Jobs Taught Me About Getting to Know Your Customers

Despite the push toward chatbots and technology-driven customer service, nothing can replace determining what your customers want through personal social interaction.

Business News

Out With the Kibble and In With the Steak. The World's Richest Dog Has a Net Worth of $400 Million – And a New Netflix Docuseries Too

'Gunther's Millions' is set to unpack the pooch's mysterious fortune and what those around him have done with his inheritance.

Fundraising

Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don'ts of Video Conferencing

As more and more businesses go remote, these are ways to be more effective and efficient on conference calls.