The market for camera-based safety systems designed to help save automobile drivers from their own failings, like driving while tired or distracted, will exceed $100 million by 2012, according to a new study released by ABI Research called Camera-Based Automotive Systems (

The study provides an analysis of global market trends and costs plus technological evaluations of the different approaches and strategies used by safety system developers, as well as discussion of recent product announcements. System sales forecasts are provided globally, by region and by application, through 2012. Numerous aspects of the technology of automotive machine vision, including obstacle detection, driver monitoring and occupant detection are addressed.

“Acknowledgment of the inherent flaws in human beings has led automobile manufacturers and suppliers to develop new technologies that can save drivers from themselves,” said principal analyst David Alexander. “Systems that can analyze road situations and provide additional warnings to drivers have started to appear in newer car models, and the camera is at the heart of many of them.

“Having the car look out for other vehicles and track the road ahead is one major area of current development,” added Alexander, “but watching the driver and passengers is another very important camera-based application that is beginning to emerge.” For example, occupant detection and monitoring allows “smart” automobiles to customize airbag deployment to the size and position of the passengers. As such technologies advance, additional safety and comfort capabilities are expected.