With our Driver Monitoring System (DMS) software installed in more than one million cars, Smart Eye has passed an important milestone. It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing an idea my father and I came up with 23 years ago be deployed in vehicles all over the world, from China to Europe and North America. Most of all, I’m proud of the difference our technology will make for global road safety.
Every year, 1.3 million people lose their lives in car accidents. The best way to drastically decrease this number is by making sure as many cars as possible are equipped with DMS to catch distraction and drowsiness in drivers.
The entire automotive industry is now tuning in to the fact that Driver Monitoring is becoming a safety standard in cars. Driven by general safety regulations and Euro NCAP’s requirements, the implementation of DMS will keep increasing until the technology is in every passenger car, truck, and bus on the planet.
For Smart Eye, I’m convinced reaching the first million cars with our DMS was, by far, the hardest part. Let me explain why.
With its long production cycles and uncompromising quality requirements, the dynamics of the automotive market are a bit different compared to many other industries. For an automotive supplier, it’s a very difficult industry to break into – but once you’re in, you’re in. Smart Eye first established itself as a reliable automotive technology supplier over 20 years ago, when we signed our first contract with Saab in 2001. This deal is what set the wheels in motion, and they have only been picking up speed ever since.
So far, Smart Eye has 14 automotive OEM customers who will install our Driver Monitoring System software in a total of 94 new car models. In most of these car models, DMS will be a mandatory feature.
However, this was not the case in the BMW car models that make up most of the million vehicles currently in production. In these cars, DMS is an add-on – an optional feature that the customer buying the car can choose whether they want to include or not. The reason for this is that BMW were unusually early adopters of DMS. When the procurements for these car models were done, DMS was not yet seen as the standard safety feature it has become since then.
As series production ramps up, most of our 13 remaining OEM customers will be installing DMS in every single vehicle produced. This will have a huge effect on the volume of cars produced with our technology. We will reach two million cars produced in a fraction of the time it took us to reach one million. The third and fourth million will be even quicker.
To put things in perspective: if all 94 car models we have won so far were to reach peak production at the same time, we could be looking at a yearly volume of as much as five million cars produced with our technology – every year.
In addition to this, we are already seeing DMS evolve into broader Interior Sensing that not only monitors the state of the driver, but also the cabin and the other occupants in it. By extending this technology to the rest of the cabin, we will be making cars even safer while enabling mobility experiences that enhance comfort, wellness and entertainment.
To have one million cars including our technology on global roads is an incredible achievement that deserves to be celebrated. But in the greater scheme of things, this is only the start signal.