19 March, 2024

Beyond Eye Tracking Technology–A True Partnership in Research Excellence

In our previous blog post, we explored the collaboration between Smart Eye and the University of North Dakota’s Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS), highlighting their endeavors in studying the intricate dynamics between humans and autonomous systems. Now, let’s delve deeper into why RIAS chose Smart Eye over other solutions, emphasizing the partnership’s unique qualities, the selection process, and the unparalleled support received throughout the journey.

Selecting Smart Eye: More Than Just Technical Capabilities

The decision to choose Smart Eye over other solutions was not solely based on technical capabilities; it was a holistic choice influenced by the expertise of the Smart Eye team, their commitment to collaboration, and the seamless integration of their technology into the research environment.

Phil Brandt, the Senior Research Scientist at RIAS, acknowledged the technical capabilities of Smart Eye’s eye tracking solutions but emphasized the standout experience he had with the team. In a rigorous evaluation process, Smart Eye demonstrated its capabilities with an in-vehicle demonstration on a rental car, showcasing the adaptability of their technology even in less-than-ideal conditions.

A Year-Long Collaborative Process

The decision-making process was meticulous and collaborative, lasting about a year. Brandt, being a curious operator, bombarded Smart Eye with questions, seeking assurance that the investment would align with RIAS’s research goals. The collaborative spirit of Smart Eye’s team played a crucial role in guiding RIAS through the selection process.

Brandt had specific requirements, and Smart Eye’s team ensured that every aspect aligned with RIAS’s needs. The commitment to helping RIAS make an informed decision, coupled with the ability to custom design a setup that would work seamlessly in the challenging military vehicle environment, made Smart Eye the clear choice.

Unparalleled After-Sales Support

One aspect that truly sets Smart Eye apart, as highlighted by a third-year graduate student at RIAS, is the exceptional after-sales support. RIAS organized a week-long technical integration event, stress-testing Smart Eye’s system in real-world conditions. Despite encountering challenges such as a breakdown of the Humvee and unforeseen issues with new PC components, Smart Eye’s support team demonstrated unwavering commitment.

The support went beyond just technical assistance; it embodied a collaborative effort to troubleshoot, problem-solve, and adapt to the unique challenges presented during the integration event. The experience was both frustrating and rewarding, providing invaluable experiential knowledge to the researchers.

Confidence in Smart Eye’s System

The graduate students at RIAS, responsible for operating and maintaining the Smart Eye eye tracking system, expressed their confidence in the support received. The hands-on guidance, step-by-step assistance, and the commitment to ensuring the researchers were confident in using the technology resonated with the entire team.

Luke Gietzen, a Clinical Psychology PhD student, emphasized the confidence gained in troubleshooting unexpected issues during the field test. The adaptability of the Smart Eye system to military-style operations, coupled with the responsive support, instilled a sense of assurance in the researchers.

Looking to the Future

As RIAS continues its research using Smart Eye’s solutions, the team is optimistic about the possibilities that lie ahead. The ability to analyze data in real-time, coupled with the richness of information provided by Smart Eye’s technology, enables a more profound understanding of operator behavior, cognitive load, and emotional responses.

The Bottom Line

The collaboration between Smart Eye and the University of North Dakota’s RIAS is not merely a technological alliance; it’s a true partnership characterized by mutual understanding, collaboration, and unwavering support. The journey from selecting Smart Eye’s eye trackers over other solutions to the real-world stress-testing has solidified the bond between the two entities. As RIAS pushes the boundaries of research in autonomous systems, Smart Eye remains a dedicated partner in the pursuit of excellence and innovation.


Interested in eye tracking for automotive research? Download our Comprehensive Guide to Eye Tracking Technology here, or contact us today to discuss your automotive research project or see a demo!

Written by Ashley McManus
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