Apparently receiving a thumbs-down on their idea for roadhead simulation devices, Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to introduce new technology designed to keep drivers awake and attentive behind the wheel. After conducting internal research, Mercedes Benz revealed that about 25% of serious traffic accidents are caused by exhausted drivers and that drowsy driving causes more accidents than drunk driving. Aiming to reduce those numbers, in March 2009, the new Mercedes E-Class will offer “Attention Assist”, a driver monitoring system that follows in the footsteps of Volvo’s Driver Alert Control system [which, we would like to note, Volvo has been offering since 2005]. Merc’s technology will take cues from Volvo’s, which currently uses advanced Delphi camera systems and MobilEye image recognition software to monitor minor steering errors followed by larger corrections, lack of response to other vehicles, and changes in eye movement. To do this, Volvo utilizes in-house algorithms that allow the automatic functions like lane departure, collision warning, and automatic braking, to communicate and operate in tandem with input from the MobileEye EyeQ vision processor chip. Like Volvo’s system, Mercedes-Benz’s Attention Assist assess how driver’s are handling the car, but there will be some notable differences. MB rep Norbert Giesen explained, “We decided not to use a camera to monitor the driver’s eyes…It was difficult with people wearing glasses.” The Mercedes system will instead opt to rely more on vehicle behavior to indicate a possibly dozing driver, utilizing information from driving patterns and vehicle sensors. “We analyze all the vehicle’s inputs,” said Geisen, “especially steering movements and ESP activation.” Like Volvo’s system, which is offered as part of a Collision Avoidance package for about $1k, Mercedes-Benz’s Attention Assist will be an optional upgrade available on certain models only.
[News Source: Auto News]