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Smart Automotive Airbags: Occupant Classification and Tracking

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2 Author(s)
Michael E. Farmer ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Eng. Sci., & Phys., Univ. of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI ; Anil K. Jain

The introduction of airbags into automobiles has significantly improved the safety of the occupants. Unfortunately, airbags can also cause fatal injuries if the occupant is a child smaller (in weight) than a typical six-year-old. Between 1986 and 2001, 19 infants and 85 children were killed by airbags during relatively minor vehicle collisions. In addition to these infant and child deaths, there have also been seven adults killed by airbags due to their proximity to the airbag during deployment. In response to these deaths, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration has mandated that, starting in the 2006 model year, all automobiles be equipped with automatic airbag suppression. The suppression of the airbag based on the type of occupant can be framed as a two-class classification problem, while the suppression of the airbag based on the location of the occupant relative to the airbag can be framed as an occupant-tracking problem. This paper describes an integrated real-time vision-based occupant classification and tracking system using a single grayscale camera with commercially available processing hardware. The classification system has achieved a classification accuracy of approximately 98%. Likewise, the tracking system has demonstrated the ability to detect a dangerous proximity of the occupant relative to the airbag within only 7 ms

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 1 )