University of Newcastle vice-chancellor Alex Zelinsky has been named a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
The fellowship is reserved for the nation's most distinguished scientists.
Peers elect fellows for outstanding research that has "pushed back the frontiers of knowledge".
Professor Zelinsky will be among 22 scientists to receive the honour at the academy's Shine Dome in Canberra on Tuesday.
The professor specialised in robotics and how machines interact with humans.
"If you put a human and machine together, you get a superior performance than a human or machine on its own," he said.
He was co-founder and the first chief executive of a company called Seeing Machines. The company invented an algorithm that detected circles and ellipses in images.
This led to a dashboard camera that can detect drowsiness and distraction in drivers and instantly sound an alert. The camera uses artificial intelligence to monitor a driver's eyes.
It aims to reduce driver fatigue and accidents.
"It's become a consumer product. General Motors put it in their Cadillac last year," he said.
There are further plans for its use in European vehicles.
"We worked with Volvo and created a technology nearly 20 years ago," Professor Zelinsky said.
"It takes a while for it to move from the laboratory to a company, to where it's been built into a car."
He was previously Australia's chief defence scientist and a CSIRO executive.
"I've been privileged to work on many important jobs for my country."