ZF is developing a 3D Interior Observation System (IOS) capable of detecting and classifying vehicle occupants, determining their size, location and position, and whether or not they are in active control of the vehicle via the steering wheel or monitoring the automated driving systems – all key data to assist with advanced safety and automated driving functions.

The IOS system can be calibrated to determine the presence of a child and activate emergency actions such as an automatic call to the vehicle owners mobile phone, lowering automatic call to the vehicle owners mobile phone, lowering electric windows and opening a moonroof to reduce interior temperatures, activation of the horn and emergency flashers so others nearby can assist, or a call to emergency providers such as OEM emergency service providers or local police and first responders to assist in rescuing the child.

As vehicles become increasingly equipped with automated functions, intelligently networked interior sensors can determine if the driver’s hands are on the steering wheel and are in active control of the vehicle, and if the driver’s head is facing the road and monitoring the vehicle while making proper use of the seatbelt system. The system can indicate that the driver is in an automated mode and when a potential emergency situation is detected can trigger alerts.

The IOS system is expected to be production ready by late 2021.