Plymouth, MI -A car that prevents drivers from falling asleep at the wheel is much closer to becoming a reality thanks to designers at Johnson Controls. "The technology is here. We just need to learn more about sleep patterns," says Bob Munson, the manager of product planning and business development at the company.
The driver's seat of the Lincoln LS has a message
function, four-way lumbar support, and integrated climate
Johnson Controls equipped a 2000 Lincoln LS with a Driver Drowsiness Alert
System. "We're looking at different ways of monitoring the onset of sleep," says
Munson. "One way involves the use of cameras that watch the eyes of the driver.
Another involves monitoring head nods," he says.
The Lincoln uses vehicle-mounted capacitance sensors and a microprocessor for
monitoring driver behavior. The capacitance sensors mount in the vehicle
headliners. The system can deliver a variety of warning signals if the driver
begins falling asleep.
"We are working with a sleep lab in Massachusetts," says John Eaton, the market segment manager for luxury cars at Johnson Controls. "We are probably a year or two away from nailing this system down," he says.