Flying cars may still be the thing of dreams. But in the meantime, the automotive world is getting one step closer to the future as Mercedes Benz prepares to unveil a vehicle featuring self-driving technology.
As part of a keynote address at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which starts Jan. 6, Mercedes-Benz Chairman Dieter Zetsche will show off a concept vehicle with LG’s Advanced Drive Assistance System, or ADAS, which uses stereo camera hardware to keep a vehicle in lane and dim headlights when there’s oncoming traffic. The technology also has the ability to activate brakes if it spots potential hazards such as pedestrians or cyclists.
But don’t throw away the steering wheel just yet. Unlike Google’s self-driving car, Mercedes’ concept car won’t be fully automated. Control is automatically returned to the driver as soon as input is sensed from the steering wheel or pedals.
In addition to features that monitor events outside the vehicle, the system will have the ability to monitor a driver’s eyes to see if they’re alert and awake. If it senses the driver is falling asleep, the system can take take over the controls or uses light and sound alerts to wake them.
The technology mirrors a similar system introduced by Ford in its 2013 vehicle models, which also track driver attention to the road. Shipments of factory-installed driver monitoring systems, such as the ones developed by Mercedes Benz and LG, are expected to reach 6.7 million by 2019 as automotive companies focus on safety and automation technology for their vehicles, according to ABI Research.