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MWC 2024: Honor brings
eye-tracking to cars

The new Magic6 Pro smartphone uses artificial intelligence and connected car technology to control a car with one’s eyes, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

Honor this week unveiled the new Magic6 Pro smartphone at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, earning high ratings for its display, selfie camera and battery life. In all three categories, it has been ranked number 1 in the world by benchmarking service Dxomark.

However, the big head-turner, literally and figuratively, may well turn out to be the integration of its artificial intelligence (AI) and eye-tracking capabilities with connected cars.

Along with launching the phone, Honor also announced that it would enable automotive control through an AI-powered eye-tracking feature. This means it will be possible to steer a car using only eye movements. A similar feature is already theoretically possible in the new BMW 5 Series, launched in South Africa this week, with the new i5 allowing lane-changes via eye-tracking.

However, the Honor eye-tracking capability means that this kind of function can be integrated with any connected car, in a similar approach to how phones with Android Auto and Apple Car Play can integrate a phone’s apps with a car’s infotainment system.

In a video produced with Autocar, an engineer showed how the Honor Magic6 Pro’s advanced eye-tracking, driven by AI algorithms, interprets user intentions based on their eye gaze. 

The demonstration showcased four different commands activated by eye movements: turning the engine on and off and moving the car forward and backward. It takes a gaze of 2-3 seconds at the specific button for the command to be activated.

This means the technology is not ready for active driving, as it requires driver distraction from the road ahead, which is obviously dangerous.

However, it does showcase what is possible in future in bringing AI to cars via smartphones, and highlights Honor’s own innovation in the use of AI technology for daily experiences.

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