The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand


Take a break!

ACC, Blind Spot, XDS, Lane Assist – today’s Volkswagen models have an armada of driver assistance systems on board. In a new inside series, the developers explain how the electronic helpers work.

A recommendation to stop for a coffee – how the on-board assistant notifies the driver when it detects fatigue.

CHAPTER 1 – Driver fatigue detection

Everyone has experienced it – you get tired on long drives. Ping – a steaming cup of coffee lights up between the rev counter and speedometer. There’s also a message: “Fatigue detected. Please take a break.” What’s going on? How can the
assist system know that I’m tired?

Hendrik Franke from Electronics Development for Driver Assistance Systems explains, “When you drive, the steering wheel is usually moved a little, not only when steering. A tired driver stops doing this movement. These pauses are noticed by the system and when it happens frequently, the assistant triggers the coffee cup warning.”

The attentive companion Fatigue Detection currently observes the driver starting at a speed of 65 km/h and focuses its sensor on the times when he steers (steering moment), the way that he steers (steering angle) and how fast he steers. If the driver doesn’t move the steering wheel for a longer period of time or only moves it a little, a threshold is exceeded and the system emits a warning.

And the helper persists. A driver who ignores the message will be prompted a second time 15 minutes later. It is high time to take a break and drink a cup of fresh coffee or stretch the legs. There are additional tips in the on-board computer manual.


Hendrik Franke (30) studied electrical engineering and information technology and heads up the Technical Development department’s Fatigue Detection project in Wolfsburg.