A British company has come up with a steering wheel that wants to eradicate concentration lapses – a factor more responsible for crashes on British roads than anything else.
The steering wheel, which is the work of Microchip giant ARM, uses a special camera in the rear-view mirror that monitors the driver’s blink rate, head position and eye alignment to work out whether you are tired.
Should it detect what it deems as nodding off (or perhaps you checking out an attractive pedestrian for just a tad too long), the steering wheel vibrates and an alarm is sounded, reminding you to pull over for a snooze or focus on the task at hand.
With a four per cent spike in accidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries of four per cent over the last year stemming from satellite navigation systems and mobile phones, ARM hopes its steering wheel will have a positive effect on road safety.
ARM vice president Richard York said to The Times newspaper: “The evidence is that almost all accidents are caused by drivers not paying attention.
“Electronics can play a big role in looking into the vehicle to keep an eye on the driver and make sure he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing, driving.”
ARM has predicted its technology will be available to drivers in a “few years”. It is unknown which manufacturers, if any, are interested.
Vibrating steering wheels and systems designed to monitor whether you are fatigued already exist in high-end cars such as Audi and Mercedes as well as heavy-goods vehicles.
Research by insurance broker LV found that 9 per cent of motorists fell asleep while driving in 2013, the equivalent of 3.4 million UK motorists. Monotonous roads came out as the biggest cause, respondents of the survey said.
As great as these safety systems are, it’s probably best to avoid driving if you are tired. As the saying goes, better late on earth than early in heaven.