Sleep warning against microsleep
Subscriptions & booklets
The idea of an automatic sleep warning is not new. For years, research has been carried out at car manufacturers at home and abroad to take away the often catastrophic consequences of microsleep. While most research has so far dealt with the eyes and especially with the driver's pupils and blinking, Mercedes in terms of driving behavior. Years ago, VDO Siemens was one of the first to introduce a sleep warning system for trucks: an infrared camera was used to monitor the eyes, head posture, direction of gaze and blinking.
The intelligent car constantly keeps an eye on around 70 parameters
Quite different with the current Mercedes models of the E and S-Klasse , which have been on the market for around a year. Here, over 70 sensors monitor the driving behavior of the pilot at the wheel - without a camera. In addition to speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, the system also records steering wheel movements, indicator and pedal actuation, as well as certain operating actions and external influences such as cross winds or uneven road surfaces. The observation of the steering behavior has proven to be particularly meaningful. Because an overtired driver has trouble staying precisely in the lane. Intensive tests by Mercedes engineers with over 500 drivers showed that this effect occurs at an early stage in the onset of fatigue - usually before the dangerous microsleep.
On the way to accident-free driving
After a few kilometers, the on-board electronics have adjusted to the driving habits of the pilot. If there are jerky steering movements and abnormalities in the around 70 parameters as a result of carelessness, the intelligent car calculates that the tired driver is threatened with microsleep and there is an optical and acoustic warning message. With the Swabians, the system is called 'Attention Assist'.
The driver's assessment is possiblethanks to a new, particularly sensitive steering sensor, which Mercedes is for the first time in the new Mercedes E-Class starts. Attention Assist monitors the driving status between 80 and 180 km /h. 'A vision of accident-free driving is unlikely to be realized in the foreseeable future, but we are on the right track,' says Christian Früh, responsible for the development of brakes and driver assistance systems at Mercedes.
Accident risk doubles after four hours of driving
W scientific studies assume that between 15 and 25 percent of all serious traffic accidents on motorways are caused by drowsy drivers. When driving long distances in the dark or under constant conditions and driving long straight ahead, the risk of seconds asleep is greatest, because this decreases the driver's attention and the monotony increases the risk of falling asleep. Studies show that the reaction time of drivers can increase by 50 percent after just four hours of non-stop driving. The risk of an accident doubles after such driving time, and after six hours it increases by more than eight times. By the way: if the system warns, there is only one solution: sleep. Fresh air, loud music, wind or stimulating drinks only bring the desired success for a short time - it is dangerous on top of that - life threatening.