Smart Eye and Volvo Innovate through Premium Driver Monitoring and Understanding Systems in new Volvo EX90 SUVs

By Alex Passett December 12, 2023

Let’s talk about Smart Eye and its cutting-edge involvement with Volvo.

Back in 1999, Mats Krantz awoke from a dream. After calling his son to discuss, the fruits of that dream-discussion combo inspired what is now Smart Eye.

Smart Eye’s M.O. is simple, in theory: Continuously improve humans’ capabilities to bridge the gaps between us and machines for a safer and more sustainable future. With partners and clients that now range from BMW and NASA to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Volvo (as mentioned) and more, Smart Eye aims to be a global leader in Human Insight AI, a technology that understands, supports and predicts human behavior within complex environments.

Human Insight AI, as its name implies, involves technologies that yield unique, extensive human insights to better industry processes going forward. Human Insight AI comes together as part of the entire Smart Eye Group, comprised also of Affectiva and iMotions:

  • Affectiva was spun out of the MIT Media Lab in 2009 with technology built on deep learning, computer vision, speech science and real-world data that, to this day, enable its specialists to detect nuanced human emotions, as well as complex cognitive states, activities, various interactions and accompanying patterns, and more.
  • iMotions, founded in 2005 with offices in Copenhagen, Boston, Singapore and Berlin, developed what has been hailed as “the world’s leading human behavior software solution.” iMotions software combines data from sensors (e.g. involving eye tracking, facial expressions, brain activity, etc.) in one ease-of-use offering that tracks, aggregates and analyzes behavioral data to glean deeper understandings of what makes us human.

Now, what’s all this got to do with Volvo?

Again, that’s simple, in theory: Smart Eye, with its developments in AI-based monitoring technologies, has applied this to drivers, too. In that vein, Smart Eye is officially announcing that its premium Driver Monitoring System (DMS) software – catalyzed by work completed by Affective, iMotions and others – is now officially included in the new Volvo EX90, Volvo’s all-electric flagship SUV.

As the announcement detailed, “Smart Eye’s DMS is a key component in the Volvo EX90 Driver Understanding System (DUS), which will provide a deeper understanding of the state of the driver to help further enhance traffic safety.”

That’s how all of this comes together; improving humans’ capabilities alongside machines through Human Insight AI, the work of Affectiva and iMotions, the whole nine yards.

And now, Volvo is in on more of the action.

“Smart Eye’s leading DMS software is a vital component in our Driver Understanding System, where once more, Volvo Cars’ state-of-the-art research will further help drivers avoid collisions,” said Åsa Haglund, Head of Volvo Cars Safety Center. “For decades, Smart Eye has proven its strength in delivering outstanding measurement technology for human behavioral studies. Bringing that competence to bear directly in our products is a natural next step and tightly aligns with Volvo Cars’ commitment to continued innovation for everyone’s safety.”

Even as an outsider to all of this (as I am, from this objective editorial standpoint), the news feels super exciting. Improving EV advancements and delivering next-gen road safety technology through stronger understandings of human behavior in relation to machine functionalities would’ve been considered pure sci-fi a decade or two ago. Now, this Smart Eye + Volvo collab signifies great progress in an initiative to reduce road fatalities, build upon technological ingenuity through AI and human behavioral data alike, and ideally save lives down the road.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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