Driver monitoring system ‘struggling’ because of Asian faces

The driver monitoring system struggles because of Asian faces - Photo 1.

ChangYanCY, famous auto blogger (pictured), and @DerekTLM are examples of small-eyed people having trouble with driver monitoring systems – Photo: Car News China

While earlier driver monitoring systems relied on sensors on the steering wheel, newer versions use data from the camera directed at the driver to check if they are alert and focused.

But XPeng owners complain that the system confuses the natural droopy eyes, characteristic of many Asians, with people who doze off with drooping eyes.

Theo Car News ChinaWeibo blogger @DerekTLM complained to his 300,000 followers that he was deducted “smart driving points” many times because the XPeng judged him to be a distraction.

To encourage good driving habits and prevent drivers from abusing guided “self-driving” technology, XPeng rewards owners with 100 points when they sign up for an account, which are then deducted when they make a mistake.

This feature works just like a driver’s license, except it doesn’t count towards a traffic fine. Every 12 months, XPeng resets the score back to 100. But if the score goes down to 0, the driver must take a safety test to restore 100 points.

The driver monitoring system struggles because of Asian faces - Photo 2.

Xpeng cars have a driver scoring system – Photo: Car News China

@DerekTLM posted a screenshot showing his scoreboard, tagging XPeng president Ha Tieu Bang and emphasizing: “My eyes are small, but I don’t doze off while driving!”.

“Once again, my eyes are small, but I do not fall asleep behind the wheel. Do people with small eyes don’t deserve to use NGP [hệ thống tự lái trên XPeng]?” he wrote.

The driver monitoring system struggles because of Asian faces - Photo 3.

Blogger @DerekTLM takes a selfie to prove that he has small eyes – Photo: @DerekTLM

In response, Ha Tieu Bang posted on Weibo that he had tagged the person in charge of the autopilot feature, asking him to follow up on the matter. Soon after, XPeng Motors responded on the official Weibo account that it had received the complaint.

In a related development, ChangYanCY, a famous auto blogger in China with 1.2 million followers, confirmed he had the same problem. He also cited XPeng’s official Weibo account to admit that the company had talked to the blogger and was aware of the problem.

Soon, rival NIO, which makes the electric ET7, is now saying it is working on ways to improve the technology.

Not just Chinese cars. Follow CNEV PostChang Yan also tested GM’s Super Cruise self-driving system in the US in 2018, and found that the technology was very difficult to read his face.

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