We all know that we shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a vehicle when we are fatigued. It’s common sense, right? But we all do it. Why? We have to!We have to drive from home to work in the early morning hours when we are still shaking off sleep and we have to drive from work to home after a long, tiring day. And then there are those trips that we have to take in our car for business reasons. When you have to, you have to.
We guess the automakers understand this situation and at least one is doing something about it. That’s Mercedes-Benz. The German auto company will be introducing the first drowsy-driver detection system as a standard feature of the 2009 E-Class sedan.
The system is supposed to be an independent determiner of fatigue. It achieves this by constantly monitoring the driver’s behavior and issuing warning chimes and visual cues on the dashboard when a serious drop off of alertness is judged.
Our take? Wow. Development of the system seems to be right out of science fiction. About 600 drivers were fitted with a skullcap that monitors brain waves. The study found that there were 70 parameters which could be monitored to better measure fatigue than a camera based system. And these parameters can be measured through the steering wheel. This meant that R&D just had to come up with a steering sensor and also include monitors for braking, acceleration, the time and road conditions.