No more falling asleep at the wheel

The next time you start to fall asleep at the wheel could be your last, although it might not be because you plummet over a cliff.

Researchers across the European Union have recruited 500 brave folks to test a new driver early-warning device called Sensation, which has been designed to offset driver fatigue by waking you up if you start to nod off at the wheel.

It’s a rather complicated three-part system. Specially designed material in the driver-side seat monitors your body heat; if it drops below a certain level, then you are rewarded with a beep that is loud enough to make you sit upright. Other body temperature sensors can be installed on the steering wheel. The last part of the system is the in-windshield camera, which is trained on your eyes and looks for signs of too much blinking, a common sign of fatigue.

A recent survey found that nearly half of a large group of drivers selected randomly had admitted to taking the wheel while drowsy; of those, nearly 33 percent had found themselves falling asleep while their vehicles were in motion.

So now you’re wondering about price. Well, it’s US$3,500. Compared to the price of a new car or hospital costs, it’s probably worth it.


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