Both the National Highway Traffic Security Association (NHTSA) and the German federal office came to the conclusion that too many accidents are caused by driver’s fatigue.
While the NHTSA points out in a 2006 study that 20% of the accidents are caused by fatigue, the German office adds that the same phenomenon is the second biggest cause of accidents involving trucks.
That’s why Bosch has been working on a "sleep-o-meter", able to detect and assess the first signs of fatigue at the wheel, that should go into production later this year.
"A number of vehicles are already equipped with steering-wheel angle sensors, which work with the ESP systems," Robert Bosch France president's Guy Maugis said.
"It can easily, and cheaply, be used to detect whether or not the driver is falling asleep, which would in turn increase road safety."
The system takes into account how many times long pauses in steering-wheel movements are followed by sudden impulses. It then mixes those figures with other variables such as speed, and, when they become too frequent, lights up a little coffee cup indicator, on the dash, to tell the driver it is time to rest, but more importantly, to stop to do so.