Visteon HMeye conceptA new car dashboard concept that lets drivers control functions using eye movement and head direction has been revealed by US automotive supplier Visteon.

The ‘HMeye cockpit concept’ allows drivers to keep their hands on the wheel while altering functions such as the radio, climate control and even the sat nav – simply by using their eyes.

The concept uses cameras to track eye movements and head movements – and Visteon says that as similar cameras monitoring driver alertness are already in use (by brands such as Lexus amongst others), the technology may not be as futuristic and far down the line as it sounds.

“The eye gaze feature and steering wheel controls provide fast response time,” said Paul Morris, innovation manager at Visteon.

“This has the potential to improve safety by minimizing the driver’s eye movement away from the road and keeping his or her hands on the wheel.”

“Advancements in camera technology, along with size reduction, have allowed the automotive industry to incorporate camera capabilities for in-vehicle applications at a reasonable cost,” said the firm.

“This system showcases technologies that may lead the movement toward autonomous driving.”

The firm reveals it’s already had interest from car manufacturers who may already be investigating integration into the cars of the future.

But what do motorists think? Visteon reveals it presented an early version of the concept to a research panel: 81 per cent of users in the clinic said they felt it was easy to operate, and 78 per cent said it was enjoyable to use.

Given how many drivers are complaining to manufacturers about over-complex on-board systems, could eye control be a solution for the car of the future?