* For E- and S-Class * Includes feature to monitor driver awareness * New crash protection systems...
The biggest breakthrough is called Attention Assist, which sounds an alarm if the driver becomes drowsy or distracted. Mercedes is so convinced of its effectiveness that it will be fitted as standard on all models within two to three years.
An in-car camera and a number of sensors build up a profile of the driver over about 20 minutes, it can then recognise any major variation in behaviour. A key component is the steering sensor, since erratic use of the wheel is believed to be the best indicator of a driver who is becoming distracted.
The driver will also be warned by a vibration through the steering wheel if he changes lanes unintentionally, while radar-sensors mounted at the rear cover any blind spots when overtaking and illuminate a red warning triangle in the door mirrors if danger is detected.