From Ford to Mercedes, a report from Cars.com details the new technology from automakers designed to prevent drowsy driving and enhance safety.
Ford’s Driver Alert system is part of a lane keeping assist system. A small, forward-facing camera located behind the rearview mirror keeps track of whether the driver is staying in his or her lane. The system vibrates the steering wheel when it detects that the driver may be swerving, and then it steers the vehicle back into its lane. It is available on the 2016 Ford Fusion Titanium as part of a $1,200 package. Volvo’s Driver Alert Control, offered on all of its models, uses the same technology as Ford’s, sounding an alarm when driving resembles the pattern of a drowsy driver; drivers also get a message to take a break.
Mercedes’ Attention Assist uses a steering sensor that records movements and speed, and determines a baseline for the driver’s behavior. This system comes standard on all Mercedes’ models. The company determined that steering patterns provide the best gauge of drowsiness, since fatigued drivers tend to change their steering behavior and make minor steering errors that they correct immediately. If the system detects erratic steering, it evaluates 70 other parameters, such as how long the driver has been at the wheel. If it determines the driver is drowsy, “drowsiness detected” will appear on the dash with a coffee cup image; there’s also a five-stage bar display that shows the driver’s current attention level and time since his or last stop. Drivers get an audible warning, and a rest-area search can be initiated.