Gentex Corporation announced the acquisition of Guardian Optical Technologies, an Israeli startup to provide a comprehensive suite of driver- and cabin-monitoring solutions for the automotive industry.
Gentex is a long-time supplier of electro-optical products for the global automotive, aerospace and fire protection industries. It’s best known for supplying nearly every major automaker with connected-car technologies and advanced electronic features that optimize driver vision and enhance driving safety.

The core of Guardian’s technology is an infrared-sensitive, high-resolution camera that combines machine vision, depth perception, and micro-vibration detection. This proprietary sensor configuration allows the system to not only monitor the driver, but also the entire vehicle cabin and all its objects and occupants, assessing their behavior, gestures, and activities.
The system continuously scans, tracks and determines the physical location of every vehicle occupant and object, even without a direct line of sight, by combining two-dimensional video image recognition with 3D depth mapping and optical motion analysis. It’s capable of detecting the slightest of movements, including heartbeats.

The Guardian acquisition further bolsters Gentex’s cabin monitoring expertise. For decades, the company has integrated displays, cameras, and various ADAS features into its smart rearview mirrors. Because the interior mirror area has an ideal view of the driver and the entire vehicle cabin, it’s a logical location for the integration of the in-cabin monitoring camera.

In January, Gentex announced the acquisition of Vaporsens, a Utah-based startup that pioneered a new nanofiber sensing technology capable of detecting a wide variety of chemicals, including explosives, drugs, VOCs, toxic industrial chemicals, amines, and more. This digital olfaction technology could be used to monitor in-vehicle air quality in passenger vehicles, and expanded to identify explosives, biohazards and other pollutants for self-driving cars.