According to a November 2014 study by the AAA (formerly the American Automobile Association), 37 per cent of drivers report having fallen asleep while driving at some point in their lives, with 11 per cent having done so in the past year.
Results of the survey suggest that drowsy drivers are also involved in approximately 300,000 crashes each year, 6,400 of them fatal. Driver fatigue and inattention also pose safety concerns.
Japanese car manufacturer Nissan says it may have a solution to the problem with its new Driver Attention Alert (DAA) system.
The system, designed to help detect drowsy and inattentive driving, is available on the new 2015 Murano crossover and will also be available on the 2016 Maxima.
How it works
The alert works this way: a little amber coffee cup symbol appears in the centre of the instrument panel if the system senses drowsiness in the driver.
The DAA system adapts to each individual driver. It monitors steering input patterns (using steering angle sensors) during a period of driving to establish a baseline. It continuously compares subsequent driving patterns to a baseline using a statistical analysis of steering correction errors.
If it detects driving behaviour consistent with a drowsy driver, the system uses an audible chime sound and displays the amber coffee cup with a message reading, “Take a break?” in the vehicle’s information display.
The DAA includes logic to help address false detection, road curvatures, lane changes, braking and even poor road conditions. The system automatically resets when the engine is turned off. It can also be turned off by the driver if desired.
Nevertheless, it remains the driver’s responsibility to remain alert at all times. DAA is only a warning to inform the driver of a potential lack of driver attention or drowsiness. It does not detect and provide an alert in every situation.