Subaru Extends Use of Facial Recognition Tech

Subaru Corp. is expanding the availability of its DriverFocus facial recognition technology, which debuted last year on the Forester SUV, to more models.

The rollout starts with high-end variants of the 2020-model Legacy sedan (pictured) and Outback crossover vehicle. Availability in other models will be added later.

DriverFocus uses a dashboard-mounted infrared camera with facial recognition capability to identify drivers and monitor their eyes and head position.

The system can detect driver fatigue or distraction, and it sends audio and visual alerts as needed. If the driver remains unresponsive, the system automatically brings the vehicle to a stop and calls a customer service center operator.

The technology, which can recognize as many as five drivers, displays a personalized greeting on the instrument panel. In addition, various vehicle settings—seating, climate, mirrors and infotainment—are automatically adjusted to pre-set preferences.

The camera has a wide field of view that allows it to begin working as soon as the driver’s door is opened, so it can recognize users before they are seated. The IR technology works in the dark and through sunglasses, Subaru notes.