Mercedes: We Haff Vays Uf Keeping You Avake!
Driver fatigue causes an estimated 24 to 33 percent of European automotive accidents. Automobilwoche reports that Daimler's Mercedes is developing an electronic Nanny that monitors driver fatigue and then tries to wake up the pilot before he crashes. It's hardly a new concept; Citroen already offers a weird (but effective) system that shakes your buttocks when you switch lanes without indicating (no, we are not joking). In the great tradition of German over-engineering, Mercedes system monitors steering input– those "typical, hardly noticeable movements that tired drivers make on a constant basis"– then compares this data to daytime and drive distance information, considering external factors such as side wind and road undulations. If the computer thinks the driver's suffering from fatigue, it sounds an alarm. (Automatic crash avoidance is inevitable.) The anti-fatigue system is set for a 2009 debut; we suggest that the PR folk deactivate it during the press launch.