Talk about a rude awakening!
If owners of a Porsche Taycan are audacious enough to fall asleep at the wheel with autopilot on, the car will abruptly wake them with a stab of the brakes and also a quick tightening of the seatbelt.
According to the info in the configurator for the Taycan under the info for Adaptive Cruis Control, Porsche have explained that this is the procedure used to wake drivers that have fallen asleep and are non-responsive.
The screenshot from the online configurator shows a block of text that says “If the vehicle detects that the driver has stopped responding, it uses visual and audible warnings, a brief tightening of the seatbelt and if necessary a jolt of the brakes”.
With autonomy in cars becoming more common, measures to prevent drivers exploiting the feature are also becoming more common. The self-driving technology found in a range of electric cars still requires the driver to be alert and prepared to take control at any point in cases where the car experiences an error. Drivers falling behind the wheel of a Tesla has become quite a well-known problem with some drivers even getting seriously injured or even killed in a road accident because they let the autopilot do all the work.
Porsche seems to be taking a hard stance on the matter with their new all-electric Taycan, alerting drivers with an attack on the senses. First, an audible and visual warning likely in the form of alert noises and warnings on the dashboard or centre console. Next, the seatbelt will be briefly tightened and if all fails, the brakes will be applied in a quick manner, likely to jolt the driver awake if they are asleep.
After going through these three phases of trying to alert the driver, if the car still detects no driver input after this, the system will activate the hazard lights and begin to slow the vehicle down to a gradual stop. In the cases where the driver has fallen unconscious due to a heart attack, seizure or other medical emergency, this could potentially save their life.
This technology looks a lot like the Emergency Assist technology that is found in other Volkswagen Group vehicles such as the Audi A6 and VW Passat so the Taycan isn’t the first to use these particular methods to make sure drivers are attentive and alert when behind the wheel.
Let us know in the comments if you think this is too much or a good way of waking drivers.
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