The system could also enlist GPS data to warn a driver if he's about to make, say, an illegal turn on a one-way street.
"There are many systems now that monitor what's going on outside the car," Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science at Cornell, told Phys.org. "Internal monitoring of the driver will be the next leap forward."
The Borrow-At-Will, Park-Anywhere Smart Car
While developing the system, researchers recorded video of 10 people driving 1,180 miles on the freeway and on urban roads over a period of two months. Saxena explained the system accurately predicted the driver's actions 77.4 percent of the time and anticipated their intentions an average of 3.53 seconds in advance – which is perhaps enough to prevent an accident and save lives.
The research team says the prototype system is in the "first steps" and that further advancements must be made before the technology is production-ready, possibly including infrared cameras for clearer night vision and 3D cameras for better accuracy.