The fatigue monitoring system, which combines a pair of infra-red cameras and continuous vehicle positioning data, is available on the brand’s Audi Q5-rivalling DS 7 Crossback. Because the cameras point at the driver, the car can monitor behaviour for signs of drowsiness or distraction, then warn them to take a break.
In particular, the cameras are looking for signs of weariness in the movement of the eyes, eyelids or neck. If any of these are detected, an audible alert is activated and a warning notice appears on the digital instrument cluster.
According to DS, the UK has seen 4,000 accidents and 150 fatalities caused by driver fatigue since 2015. That’s an average of roughly 1,300 crashes and 50 accidents that the company says could be avoided every year if all cars were fitted with its technology or a similar system.
“Distracted and tired drivers are a serious safety threat on roads across the UK and it is the cause of thousands of accidents a year, with some ending in fatalities,” said the company’s head of product, Vince Clisham. “This serious issue can benefit from the latest technologies available, which is why we have made our DS Driver Attention Monitoring technology available across the range on DS 7 Crossback. Coupled with DS Night Vision and DS Active LED Vision headlights, DS Automobiles is able to lead the way on improving the safety on the roads.”
In 2022, fatigue and distraction alert systems will become mandatory for all vehicles sold in the European Union, but the technology is not required until then. On the lowlier versions of the DS 7 Crossback, for example, it comes as part of an option package that costs either £700 and £875. Only on the high-end Prestige and Ultra Prestige cars is the package a standard feature.
Drowsiness detection systems are just one part of a host of changes the EU has proposed for 2022, when reversing cameras or sensors, intelligent speed assistance and ‘black box’ data recorders will all be mandatory for all cars, vans, trucks and buses sold in the bloc. At the same time, lane-keeping assistance, advanced emergency braking and “crash-test improved” safety belts will all be required for new cars and vans.
It isn’t entirely clear whether these rules will still apply to vehicles sold in the UK if and when the country leaves the European Union. However, the government has been urged to maintain the same standards as the EU by road safety campaigners, and the Vehicle Certification Agency has reportedly said it will match the EU’s requirements.