INNOVATION

New Autonomous Mercedes-Benz Car Could Prevent Microsleep Accidents

It's the next step towards self-driving vehicles.

27/07/2016 11:30 AM AEST | Updated 27/07/2016 9:37 PM AEST
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The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class can correct its road position and avoid potential crash risks.

Australians can now buy what could be the world's most advanced-technology car which looks to save drivers from the dangers of a place we have all been before -- the microsleep.

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class can steer itself at speeds of more than 200km/h, correct its road position to stay in its lane, avoid obstacles and predict potential crash risks should you nod off while behind the wheel.

In what Mercedes says is the next step "on the road to autonomous, accident-free driving", the E-Class system has an adaptive brake-assist and pilot and distance tracking program that provides support where drivers may fail on the road.

Jochen Haab, the head of active safety testing at Mercedes Cars, said that the advanced technology was meant to be a last resort.

"It's there when you need it, the technology should not replace driver attention," he told News.com.au.

"We will see this technology work first in freeway conditions, where there are not as many variables and it's relatively easy for the car's systems to read and understand other traffic."

The car can also become familiar with driving styles and issue audible warnings if there is a noticeable change in behaviour -- such as when drivers fall asleep, as well as managing to keep its distance from any cars in front and flashing the rear brake lights to alert drivers behind in the hopes of avoiding a collision.

However, it's far from foolproof.

"We want people to know they are in charge. We call our system Drive Pilot -- implying you drive," Haab said according to Drive.com.au.

So what does a car as fancy and futuristic as this set you back? Prices range from a mere $90,000 for the E200 Coupé model up to $156,000 for the E400 Cabriolet.

So while it might not be until 2020 when in-built autonomous self-driving systems could hit the car market, it seems drivers are going to need to dig deep to get themselves on the road in the right direction.

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