By on April 5, 2010

Ever dozed off at the wheel? Buy an upcoming Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid, and you’ll get a not quite rude, but nonetheless resolute awakening.

Put yourself in my shoes. Once a year, in November, I head (well, used to head) to Key West for the Offshore World Cup. After a long flight, I pick up a car in Miami, usually late at night after a flight around half of the world, and I keep forgetting how long a hike it is to Key West. Especially when jetlagged.

Now with a Mitsubishi hybrid, I could save the money spent on NoDoz and macho-sounding energy drinks. When I nod off, the car would spray a citrus-based mist in my face, along with “other fragrances that are said to have a waking effect,” as The Nikkei [sub] reports without a more detailed specification of the fragrance. To fully alert me, my steering wheel and my seat would vibrate. Now that would get my attention

Mitsu’s reawakening will come pre-installed in luxury models of a plug-in hybrid to be rolled out in 2013. How will it work?

A camera built into the upper part of the steering wheel constantly follows the movements of my eyes. Once I develop a zombie-like blank stare, indicated by my eyes not moving for a certain period of time, the anti-zzzzzz alarm will be set off. No word whether the computer will detect sleeper agents and report them to the FBI.

The computer has more tricks up its sleeves. Ultra-wide-angle cameras in the four corners of the car will be on the look-out for approaching vehicles or pedestrians. Could someone please tell me why the thing can’t navigate US-1 on its own so that I can catch a few hours of sleep before the 7am driver’s meeting?

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7 Comments on “Asleep At The Wheel No More...”

  • avatar

    TTAC System Bugs?? I arrived at the end of Bertel’s Active Haptics Article above and saw something unusual, that I was seemingly logged in as one “Edwin Loh” (there was a name, and a pic superimposed on a facebook frame). I never heard of Edwin Loh. So I thought I would submit a comment – under his name, but identifying myself as well – to flag this to ttac. When I clicked the submit button, a new box, one saying I had to be logged into facebook appeared, which I closed, and tried to re-submit again, to which I saw the normal ttac notice that I had to be logged in to reply.

  • avatar

    It seems like automakers are using their hybrids as vehicles for presenting their highest techno toys to the public. This makes sense, as one of the hybrid customer demographic groups is technophiles.

    The Mitsu has the most impressive alarm clock for a car that I’ve heard of. It’s citrus mist sprayer reminds me of the South African luxury car that had a sprayer, too — its security system sprayed thieves with flames. Maybe Mitsubishi can follow their lead and create a youtube video of their own that shows their sprayer in action. It’d be interesting to see someone dozing off while on a test track suddenly jolted back to consciousness as lemony smelling-salts spew into the cabin.

    Although not as extreme as the system written about here, there’s a no-doze system in the Lexus HS250h. It has a camera on the steering column that detects inattentive drivers sleeping or ogling things out the side window instead of paying attention to the road in front of them, plus a camera that watches street markings to detect inattentive drivers swerving out of their lane. In either case, a beeper sounds and the steering wheel vibrates. A built-in cappuccino machine might be more reliable and cheaper, but I’m partial to these new high-tech approaches due to their geeky factor.

  • avatar

    My low tech solution to sleepiness on long drives is to eat carrots. The crunching keeps me alert. If I feel like I can’t stay awake when I’m eating carrots, I know it’s time to get off the road and nap for 15 minutes.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a buddy who was a Greyhound bus driver in the 60’s. When he was new he got all the shit runs, often having to go out again right after arriving from a long drive. He told me that his cures for sleepiness were moving the seat as far forward as possible to make it uncomfortable, opening the side window as much as he dared (in wintertime), and pulling hairs out of his legs.

  • avatar

    I don’t want to own a car that is so dull its designers feel compelled to install a device that keeps me nodding off at the wheel.

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