Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled its 2021 E-Class sedan, which, like many German luxury cars, will also feature the company’s latest driver assistance,media reported. But the new E-Class has also changed the need for drivers to focus when using these features, and the company has introduced a new steering wheel with capacitive sensing.
In the past, the E-Class and other Mercedes-Benz cars used to measure the movement of the steering wheel to determine whether the driver’s hand was on the steering wheel. The problem with this approach is that it is often difficult to determine how much exercise needs to be measured to determine how much movement a hand has to do with the steering wheel. Cheating is easy if the threshold is set too low, and if it is too high, the driver is required to enter information that could change the physical trajectory of the car.
Now, however, capacitance sensing may be a more direct and secure method than measuring steering wheel inputs.
This is important because more and more cars are now using technology that can replace human driving. However, the problems posed by this technology are also obvious, security issues. Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board held a three-hour hearing in Washington, D.C., and a fatal 2018 accident involving Tesla Autopilot was one of the central themes. In that accident, the driver’s Model X strayed out of the driveway of a multi-occupancy vehicle and crashed into a concrete guardrail while he was using Tesla’s driver assistance system, Autopilot. While there are many factors that contributed to the driver’s death, such as damaged safety devices in front of concrete barricades and fading lanes of highways, the NTSB believes that drivers’ overconfidence in Autopilot’s abilities is one of the main possible causes. In fact, the safety board’s investigation team found that the driver was playing Mobile game just before he crashed into the guardrail.
Perhaps Mercedes’ capacitive technology will work, and if it turns out, it could be rolled out to other models produced by the company.