Saabs New Driver Attention Warning System

by : Evander Klum

General Motors Corporation's Saab Automobile division has recently established a new development project that aims to provide solution for the most typical causes of car accidents, which include drowsy and distracted driving, as well as inattention to the steering wheel.

Called the Saab Driver Attention Warning System, this new automotive feature can alert the driver through voice and text messages when it detects signs of drowsiness or inattention. In addition, the system can also alert the driver using vibrations on the seat cushion.

So how does the Driver Attention Warning System work? Well, first off, the system uses two infra-red cameras that are located at the base of the drivers A-pillar and the other is located at the center of the main fascia, focusing on the driver's eyes. These cameras can detect drowsiness by using software that analyzes the images taken from the driver's eyelids. The Driver Attention Warning System also warns the driver when not looking directly on the road. According to Saab press release, infrared imaging using this type of cameras "ensure good performance in all day and night light conditions, and even if the driver is wearing dark glasses."

Saab further explains how the Driver Attention Warning System works:

"In the first instance, a chime sounds and a text warning message "Tired?" is displayed in the main instrument panel. If the driver's eye-lid movement does not immediately revert to a normal 'wide awake' pattern, a speech message "You are tired" is then delivered through the car's audio system. If there is still no response, a stronger warning tone and the message, "You are dangerously tired - stop as soon as it is safe to do so!" will come over the audio. This can only be cancelled when the driver presses a reset button in the fascia. The system is then immediately reactivated."

The Driver Attention Warning System is first installed on a Saab 9-3 SportCombi model equipped with . This system is a part of Human Vehicle Integration team and GME Engineering's Intelligent Vehicle Safety Systems (IVSS), which is also supported by the national government of Sweden.

According to Arne Nabo, Head of the Human Vehicle Integration team:
"It is a fact that many drivers do not stop and get out of the car if they are feeling drowsy. So we are now trying to help drivers to help themselves This system also helps prevent a dangerous habit we call 'cognitive capturing'. For example, the driver can become too absorbed in searching for a favorite CD, programming pre-sets into the radio or trying pick up a screaming baby's dummy from the floor."

Saab said the Driver Attention Warning System will undergo a series of testing to analyze its performance. This will include an eight-month field trial program supported by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI).

Watch out for this new system in Saab production models soon.