Probably the coolest feature on the new Lexus LS600hl is the new Driver Monitor System with a face detection camera, mounted on the top of the steering wheel.
..here are the first photos
The LS also offers the world’s first Driver Monitor System.
A third camera, mounted on the steering column, monitors the orientation of the driver’s face. If the camera detects that it appears the driver is not looking directly ahead for a few seconds or more, and if an obstacle is detected ahead, then it alerts the driver first with a warning chime and a flashing light. As the car gets closer to the obstacle, APCS can begin to gently apply the brakes on its own. To assist the driver in maneuvering around the obstacle, the system reprograms the steering ratio, amplifying the intensity and quickness of the steering response.
While all of this is happening, the system automatically retracts the front seatbelts and prepares the brake system to respond with full force when activated by the driver in anticipation of a possible impact.
Our bets are most companies will follow Lexus with systems like this in the future.