Tests conducted with over 550 male and female drivers have shown that many people fail to recognise tiredness in good time. Tiredness generally builds up over a prolonged period, rather than revealing any sudden and clearly noticeable symptoms.
The innovative ATTENTION ASSIST system can detect when drivers start to become drowsy and prompt them to take a break before it's too late.
The risk of falling asleep momentarily is at its greatest on long-distance journeys in the dark or in unchanging conditions because this is when drivers are most likely to suffer a lapse in attention. The sheer monotony further heightens the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Studies show that, after just four hours of non-stop driving, drivers' reaction times can be up to 50 percent slower. So the risk of an accident doubles during this time. And the risk increases more than eight-fold after just six hours of non-stop driving!
ATTENTION ASSIST observes the driver's behaviour and, at the start of every trip, produces an individual driver profile that is then continuously compared with current sensor data. This permanent form of monitoring is important for detecting the floating transition from awakeness to drowsiness and for warning the driver in plenty of time. The system is active at speeds of between 80 and 180 km/h.
The further developed system now available in the 2013 model year Mercedes-Benz S and E-Class is active at an enhanced speed range among 60 and 200 km/h.
At the heart of this Mercedes system is a highly sensitive sensor which allows extremely precise monitoring of the steering wheel movements and the steering speed.
Based on these data, ATTENTION ASSIST calculates an individual behavioural pattern during the first few minutes of every trip. This pattern is then continuously compared with the current steering behaviour and the current driving situation, courtesy of the vehicle's electronic control unit. This process allows the system to detect typical indicators of drowsiness and warn the driver by emitting an audible signal and flashing up an unequivocal instruction on the display in the instrument cluster: "ATTENTION ASSIST: Break!"