Mercedes-Benz has become the latest automaker to offer high-tech help to fight drowsiness while driving. If you get drowsy or dozy and start to show signs of nodding off, this car will show you a cup of coffee and warn you to wake up with a loud noise.
If you have ever fallen asleep at the wheel, you know just how dangerous it can be. It happened to me one time driving from San Francisco to L.A. on Hwy. 5 (also called the California Autobahn where if you’re driving 90 mph, you’re going too slow) I nodded off and when I woke up, I was in a lettuce field. I was lucky I didn’t total my car!
Standard on the redesigned 2010 E-class models will be Mercedes’ new Attention Assist system, designed to detect drowsiness on the part of the driver in the early stages, before it becomes a real danger, the German automaker said.
It uses various sensors to monitor the driver’s behavior, including slight weaving of the vehicle that results in “patterns of minor steering corrections,” Mercedes said, which studies have shown to be a key indicator of driver inattention.
The system measures 70 different parameters to try to gauge whether the driver might be drowsy; and when it determines that a problem exists, the system “emits an audible and visible warning in the form of an espresso cup icon and a ‘time for a rest’ message in the instrument cluster,” the company said.
“Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 police-reported crashes, resulting in 1,550 deaths and another 71,000 injuries each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Mercedes said in an announcement about the Attention Assist system.