A handy safety feature that could save your life on long journeys, once only found in luxury vehicles, is now built into regular cars.
There are numerous high-tech aspects that are becoming standard in everyday cars that focus on vehicle safety and a more enjoyable driving experience.
Major car manufacturers such as Mercedes, Volvo, General Motors, Audi and Nissan have developed drowsiness detection systems in their vehicles to prevent serious accidents caused by drowsy driving.
On longer car journeys, it can happen that drivers fall into a microsleep after many consecutive hours of driving without a break.
Microsleep is a brief state of sleepy unconsciousness that can occur while driving, even with your eyes open, as defined by Indiana-based auto specialists Car Wash King.
For many people, it can be very difficult to determine when sleep begins and when it is the right time for a nap or coffee.
This feature has been implemented in cars by several car brands since around 2010.
Apparently Volvos use a rear-facing camera that scans the driver and monitors eye and head movements to detect the onset of sleep.
The car will warn the driver on the dash monitor if it is detected.
On Mercedes and General Motors models, the steering wheel vibrates when it detects that the driver is taking evasive action.
When it senses this, it directs the vehicle back on track.
Manufacturers and auto parts suppliers have been working on advanced technological solutions to combat drowsiness, the New York Times reported.
To detect drowsiness even earlier than the systems already in use, Plessey Semiconductors has developed sensors that are placed in a seat and monitor changes in the heart rate.
The company has developed algorithms that indicate when breathing changes into patterns typical of someone who is asleep.
It then warns the driver before anyone actually falls asleep.
“We could see that in a vehicle in five years,” said Keith Strickland, chief technology officer for the Plymouth-based company.