Fall asleep at the wheel of the new Mercedes E-class and the car will attempt to wake you up. Then, like a good $50,000 vehicle, it will suggest you pause for coffee.
Called Attention Assist, the program is the result of some meticulous study by the fine folks at Mercedes. By studying the brainwaves of sleepy drivers and the physical behavior that accompanied them (like sluggish or delayed steering, for example), they were able to design a car that literally knows when you're about to fall asleep at the wheel.
When the system notices that, thanks to sensors in the steering wheel, it will sound an obnoxious alarm to startle you into consciousness. Then, as mentioned above, the display will suggest you "pause" and take a break.
Meaning, if you purchase a new E-Class when they come out in 2009, you'll probably be driving in one of the safest cars on the road. That is, until some schmuck driving a beat-up old '95 Ford falls asleep at the wheel after working three jobs and kills you. Until that day though, super safe. [Autoweek via DVICE]