VW Tech Will Shake Awake Drowsy Drivers

Mon 10th Feb 2020

Britain’s drivers are set for a rude awakening with German car manufacturer Volkswagen developing technology which will jolt a driver awake if the car’s emergency assist system detects they have fallen asleep.

Falling asleep at the wheel has long been a major cause of accidents on UK roads, with 62 fatal accidents and 1,500 accidents in Britain in 2018 alone. And Volkswagen’s own research has found that one in five drivers have admitted to falling, or almost falling, asleep while in charge of a car at night. More than a quarter admit that fatigue has caused them to lose control of their vehicle and swerve out of the lane that they were in.

Now Volkswagen’s new technology is aimed at warning drivers that they are falling asleep, warning other drivers on the road, and if needed stopping the car completely.

The VW Emergency Assist system is similar to other car manufacturers in that it spots signs of inactivity from the driver, however whereas some other manufacturers use a subtle approach of warning, the technology employed in the new Touareg SUV, will pulse the brakes of the car, trigger hazard lights and then begin weaving left and right within the lane in a bid to shake the driver from their slumber. If there is still no reaction from the driver then the car will perform a ‘controlled stop’, a manoeuvre which could be used at times when the driver has suffered a medical incident.

Brian Luckie, Touareg product manager at Volkswagen UK, said: “Government figures show the risks posed by driving at night, whether it is from fatigue and drowsiness to dark roads with pedestrians and animals lurking on verges and unlit pavements.

“Our research also showed how many motorists have found themselves nodding off or have had near-misses while driving at night.

“Safety is paramount at Volkswagen and the Touareg has a number of impressive technological innovations which can transform the experience for drivers at night.”