Subaru’s ‘Guardian Angel’ Claims Top Technology Award

Thu 16th Jan 2020

A Japanese car manufacturer has won a major prize at the 2020 What Car? Awards for an innovative driver monitoring system.

Subaru’s DriverFocus technology was praised for changing the relationship between motorists and their vehicles in the wake of increased vehicle autonomy. The system features a dashboard mounted camera and sensor which monitors a driver’s facial and eye movements. The technology is designed to send a warning signal to the driver if they have become distracted by a handheld mobile phone, if they are falling asleep or if their gaze is wandering. The warnings continue and get louder if the bad behaviour continues and has been described by What Car? judges as a leader in ‘Guardian Angel’ tech.

Matthew Avery of Thatcham Research which sponsored the technology category said: “Subaru’s driver monitoring system is by far the best example we’ve seen in 2019. About 27% of all fatalities are due to a driver being distracted and this system addresses that problem. It’s the sort of technology that will make a difference to the number of distracted-driving crashes on our roads due to things like mobile phone use.”

“And with so many of today’s emerging vehicle innovations focused on the car’s ability to take control in certain situations, we felt it was important to honour ‘guardian angel’ technology that places driver awareness at the heart of the conversation.”

Hyundai’s Centre Side Airbag, Jaguar’s ultra-wide band radio and BMW’s Drive Recorder system were also highly commended by the judges.