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Member Introduction Smart Eye: Tracking the Future with Sensor Technology
NEWS | Features

Member Introduction Smart Eye: Tracking the Future with Sensor Technology

24 January 2020 | Written by administrator



Today, breakthrough technologies continue to change the dynamics between humans and their automobiles. And as safety is of utmost importance, many experts are beaming their eyes on the latest developments in sensor technology. Smart Eye, an innovator in tracking technology for cars, has been working hand in glove with the industry’s big wheels for over 10 years. Going forward, they have their eyes set on further improving vehicle safety standards worldwide. SCCJ visited Smart Eye Japan Co., Ltd. General Manager Kazuko Ogawara, in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, to learn more about the company’s tour de force.


Smart Eye AB was established in Gothenburg in 1999. The founder and CEO, Mr. Martin Krantz, created the eye tracking software used in their Driver Monitoring System (DMS) and interior sensing algorithm when he was studying engineering physics at Chalmers University of Technology. The university was founded in Gothenburg in 1829 and is one of the best technology universities in the world.


Smart Eye AB has been listed on the Stockholm NASDAQ stock exchange since 2016. Their gross revenue in FY2018 stood at 71,114 thousand SEK (around ¥826 million). This was an increase of approximately 17% from FY2017. Besides their headquarters in Sweden, the company has three offices (US, Japan, and China) and has approximately 130 employees. They are planning to establish an office in South Korea too.


Smart Eye Japan was established in July 2018. Ms. Ogawara has been the general manager since its inception. “I worked in the Swedish embassy’s commerce department for 17 years. That was where I met Mr. Krantz. This was around 2008. I supported his business develop relationships with companies like Toyota Motor and Denso. When he established the Japanese Kabushiki-Kaisha in 2018, I decided to join the company” explained Ms. Ogawara.


Smart Eye AB has two business domains: Automotive Solutions and Research Instruments. The former domain supplies car manufacturers (OEMs) their DMS and interior sensing algorithm. The latter domain distributes an eye tracking system called Smart Eye Pro to universities and research institutions worldwide.


“But Smart Eye Japan is only responsible for the Automotive Solutions side of the business. In Japan, a company called Toyo Technica has been handling the distribution of Smart Eye Pro for more than a decade” explained Ms. Ogawara.


The company’s DMS tracks the driver’s eye, face, and head movements. Using this information, the software can then detect if the driver is being distracted, feeling tired, or falling asleep. The interior sensing algorithms look at the whole interior of the car to determine potentially dangerous behavior in the cabin.


“If the DMS detects something unusual the vehicle’s application responds. Each application is developed by the OEMs, based on the algorithm provided by us. The application can respond in a variety of different ways.

In some cars, it might start moving the steering wheel. In other cars, it may respond by rocking the seat. The cars could even start playing loud music, too. There are many ways the cars can alert the driver. It all depends on the OEM”

explained Ms. Ogawara.


In 2015, the BMW X5 became one of the first cars to officially install Smart Eye’s sensor technology. And in 2018, BMW’s 3 Series, M8, X4, X3, and Z4 cars quickly followed suit. Other OEMs that have developed applications using Smart Eye’s algorithm includes China’s largest automobile manufacturer Geely, but generally Smart Eye is not able to reveal the name of their OEMs due to non-disclosure agreements.


“Right now, we have nine OEMs as our customers globally. A total of 57 car models have either already have or will have our technology installed. Smart Eye Japan secured its first customer in May 2019. The application that will be installed in this OEM’s cars are currently in the works. These cars will be released at the end of 2020” added Ms. Ogawara.


Over the years, one of the biggest challenges Smart Eye had to overcome was correctly recognizing the different size, shape, and movement of people’s facial features. But now, not only is their algorithm fully capable of recognizing these differences, it can also function flawlessly even when the driver is wearing a surgical mask or sunglasses.

“This was an important improvement for us. Because in Japan, many people wear surgical masks. And in Europe and the US, many people wear sunglasses”

commented Ms. Ogawara.


The technological advancements spurred by Smart Eye, other car equipment suppliers, and OEMs are reshaping the landscape of the industry’s regulatory environment. In March 2019, the European Commission approved a legislation that will make the installation of DMSs a requirement for all new cars released from 2024. Although the timing is still unclear, Ms. Ogawara predicts that Japan’s regulatory oversight will introduce similar measures sometime over the next few years: “I believe this is an industry-wide trend. Major markets such as the US, China, and Japan will eventually follow suit. There is ample potential for our business to grow in the road ahead”.


We would like to extend a warm welcome to Smart Eye Japan Co., Ltd as a member of SCCJ. You can find out more about them at:

昨今の技術革新によって、人間と自動車の関係性は常に変化し続けている。そして、安全性が最も重要であることから、多くの専門家が最先端のセンサー技術を駆使して人間の目を計測している。ドライバモニタリング用のソフトウェアを開発するSmart Eyeは、自動車業界とともに10年間技術を磨いてきた。今後も世界中の自動車の安全を高めるのに大きく貢献するだろう。 SCCJはスマート・アイ・ジャパン株式会社でゼネラルマネージャーを務める小河原和子氏を東京都千代田区のオフィスに訪ね、会社の製品について詳しく話を聞いた。


Smart Eye ABは1999年にヨーテボリで設立された。創設者でCEOのMartin Krantz氏がチャルマース工科大学で物理学を学んでいたとき、ドライバーモニタリングシステム(DMS)とインテリアセンシングのアルゴリズムを用いて眼の動きを計測するソフトウェアを開発した。彼が学んだチャルマース工科大学は1829年にヨーテボリに設置された世界でも有数のエリート工科大学である。


Smart Eye ABはストックホルムのナスダック市場に2016年から上場している。2018年度の総売り上げは7,111.4万スウェーデンクローナ(日本円でおよそ8.26億円)であり、2017年度と比べて17%増加した。スウェーデンの本社に加えて、3つの海外オフィス(アメリカ・日本・中国)があり、130人の従業員が働いている。今後は韓国にも支社を設立する予定だ。




Smart Eye ABは主に2つの事業を手掛けている。車載ソリューションと研究用機器だ。車載ソリューションに関しては、自動車メーカにDMSとインテリアセンシングのアルゴリズムを提供している。研究用機器についてはSmart Eye Proと呼ばれ、人の視線の方向や頭部運動、瞼の開きなどの計測を必要とする研究用のシステムを世界中の大学や研究機関に提供している。


「スマート・アイ・ジャパンは車載ソリューション事業のみを扱っており、国内での研究開発用のシステムSmart Eye Proの販売は10年以上にわたって、東陽テクニカ様に協力をいただいています。」








2015年、BMWのX5が初めてSmart Eyeのセンサー技術を導入した。2018年にはBMWのM8、X4、X3とZ4がその後に続いた。Smart Eyeのアルゴリズムを用いたアプリケーションを開発した自動車メーカにはGeelyと呼ばれる中国最大の自動車メーカがあるが、守秘義務契約のため多くの名前を明かすことはできない。




長年にわたりSmart Eyeが抱えてきた大きな課題の一つが、個々で異なる人々の顔の大きさや形、顔の動きや特徴をいかに正しく捉えるか、ということだった。しかし現在ではアルゴリズムが完全にこの差異をとらえることができるだけでなく、ドライバーがマスクやサングラスをしていてもスムーズに作動するようになっている。



Smart Eyeや他の車の部品メーカ、そして自動車メーカが支えてきた技術の進歩は、業界の規制環境をも変えつつある。2019年の3月には、欧州委員会が2024年から販売されるすべての新車にDMSの設置を義務づける法制定を採択した。まだタイミングははっきりしないが、日本の規制当局も今後数年間のうちに類似したものを導入するのではないかと小河原氏は予測している。「これが業界全体のトレンドになっていると考えています。アメリカや中国、日本といった大きな自動車マーケットが最終的にはこの動きに追随するでしょう。我々にとってビジネスの機会が十分にあると言っても過言ではありません。」