back to article Germans develop sleepy-driver car 'warning' system

In Germany, apart from the well-known national passion for efficiency and order, a common trait among the citizenry is the desire for driving extremely fast along the autobahn. When bombing along the fast lane at 150mph (240km/h) in your BMW, even a split second's inattention can be fatal. And yet we are all human, and …

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  1. Ian 62

    POLAND

    I can see it now...

    You quietly drift off, the Eye-Tracker gives the sat nav a nudge, the sat nav picks Warsaw, and the google car invades Poland all by itself.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Joke

      Oooh naughty naughty!

      I thought we were all mates together in Europe now, none of that naughty xenophobic talk!

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      Isn't it about time to give up the 'All Germans Are NAZIS!' jokes?

      The Nazi regime was destroyed sixty-five years ago. Anyone who took active part in it would have to invade Poland by Zimmer frame.

      People do not become cackling maniacs simply by being born in a particular geographic area.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        @Christoph

        >Isn't it about time to give up the 'All Germans Are NAZIS!' jokes?

        Yes, but... are you German?

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: @Christoph

          What difference does it make?

      2. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Troll

        ever visited Bridgewater?

        "People do not become cackling maniacs simply by being born in a particular geographic area."

      3. Michael Sauerbrey
        FAIL

        Don't stop this jokes ...

        all Germans are goosestepping, all Brits make bad Nazi jokes, all Poles nick cars ...

        And besides - if you ask the "right" questions you get scientific proof of a xenophobic, anti-islamic, yew-hating nationalist Germany again http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,722868,00.html, just don't look at the same simple-answer, scape-goat pointing trend everywhere the economy goes down ...

        1. ian 22
          Happy

          This Title is Peripherally Applicable

          Having been transferred from the Eastern Front to command of a prisoner of war camp, the Major required the reassuring sound of a bed-side clock to sleep. The "tick-tock" sound helped to calm his nightmares.

          One day the clock failed. This being war-time Germany, no replacement or parts could be found, so the Major ordered a prisoner to stand outside his bedroom and say "tick-tock" all night.

          However, the prisoner fell asleep and began to say only "tick-tick", which awoke the Major.

          In a rage, the Major confronted the prisoner and said, "Ve haff vays to make you tock!"

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Christoph

        "People do not become cackling maniacs simply by being born in a particular geographic area."

        ... but it may give you a head start. I've been researching the very small corner of Germany from whence my other half originates. Turns out Adolf and the boys saw this particular spot as a bit of an ideological hothousing experiment back in the early thirties. In order to be buy farm land there you had to be party member of long and enthusiastic standing, and of course be able to trace your 'pure' ancestry back to about 1800. Presumably the idea was to breed 'natural' Nazis for generations to come.

        The place actually became quite famous for a brief few years and bus loads of day trippers and tourists (including from the UK and US) would apparently turn up to walk in the Führer's footsteps and visit this model example of how Germania was going to pan out.

        As the war ended, there must have been a lot of bonfires in back gardens, and of course no one knew anything at all, all of a sudden. But a number of mementos of the Führer's visit mysteriously vanished, including a large bell struck in his honour. Local rumour has it buried on one particular family property, and it was apparently dug up to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the visit, so there is at least some reverence for a past most are only too happy to forget.

        For me the story says nothing really about the people of the area - although they are particularly conservative people, even by German standards. What it did bring home was that the Nazis were not some mythical species that vanished in 1945, but that more or less anyone can end up hitched to the wrong ideology if the benefits are personally persuasive enough.

        As to the driver waking device - Tomorrows World's James Burke demoed an early take on this in the early '70s with a clownish looking headphone device that involved a mercury based rocker switch and a loud squealing noise.

        1. Des

          Have you seen...

          ...Die Welle (The Wave); a german movie which recounts how students could be swept up to do whatever it takes in the name of <insert cause here> which was based on a true story that occured in the US!

  2. Paul_Murphy
    Coat

    Started already with the generic German jokes...

    Didn't take long.

    May I contribute with the following (totally non-PC) suggested messages:

    'We hav vays of makink you drife properly'

    'Stop lookink at ze pretty gurls' (probably not needed for married drivers)

    'To cancel zis operation raise your right arm'

    ttfn

  3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Loved that one!

    "Vake up unt drife properly OR YOU VILL BE SHOT"

    Stick it in a satnav and i'll buy it!

    1. Bryce 2

      What's marriage got to do with it?

      We're married.... not dead!

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        "Stop looking at ze pretty gurls"

        "We're married.... "

        I think that's the point. Your wife supplies the commands, and more physical prompts if there is any failure to comply...

      2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

        Re: married, not dead

        I think he was suggesting that the married chaps might already be reminded "not to look at the pretty girls" often enough as it is.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @Paul_Murphy

      You might be married to the wrong lady.

      My mate has been known to quite enjoy the company of ladies herself and incessantly points out the lookers whilst we are driving. As a previous commenter made mention: we're married, sir...not dead!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    No, no - that's not for the Germans

    We, as stated so well, are trrrained to drive at high speed, using the famous Pervitin as your forefathers had to learn to stay awake while the bloody (hahh!!) tourists, having come in hordes to experience the (only) freedom we have - to drive as fast as the car goes - are overwhelmed and react by closing their eyes. So our Wissenschaft had to find a solution to the accident-clogged arteries of our economy to make room again for our Porsches ...

  5. Code Monkey

    Interesting

    It'll be difficult to callibrate as drviers sit in different positions depending on how knackered they are.

  6. umacf24
    Happy

    This is excellent

    Why are you mocking people working to save lives, perhaps even yours? Pigdogs.

  7. Matthew Glubb
    FAIL

    One word

    Sunglasses

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      @umacf24

      Are you suggesting Reg commentards shouldn't mock something just because it's a good idea?

      Wash your mouth out.

    2. Dave Rickmers
      Stop

      Screwing up the gene pool

      by interfering with natural selection will yield unintended consequences.

    3. Steve 6
      Stop

      "sunglasses" ?

      Compared to fatigued driving (mostly occurs during darkness), I would be far more worried about drivers driving with sunglasses in darkness!

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @Steve 6

        Do you only get tired when it's dark out? Never worked a 30+ hour shift and then driven home at 2pm essentially on autopilot?

  8. Bilgepipe

    Awesome

    Best article ever.

  9. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Go

    technology is the problem on this one

    When I drive a 1960's car with no seatbelts, drum brakes and a steering column like a spear aimed at my heart, the adrenalin keeps me awake

  10. Albert Gonzalez
    Thumb Up

    Compulsory for lorry drivers

    It should be compulsory for lorry, bus, and other professional drivers. Especially if the transport is of dangerous substances.

  11. Andy C

    Any one Dave Gormans Genius program?

    The ginger in the vest had a much better idea - a wasp in a box that could be deployed to wake you up. Granted it was a manual deployment so mabey combine the two? Begin drifting off and *Bang* Wasps in your car...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A simpler, cheaper device

    Works by audio.

    It checks for the sound of snoring.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Bryce 2

    "We're married.... not dead"

    Is there a difference?

    1. Someone Stole My Handle!!!

      dead married

      <quote>

      "We're married.... not dead"

      Is there a difference?

      </quote>

      .Yes, dead men don't get nagged quite as much...

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      @AC Re @Bryce 2

      Apparently yes. Being dead costs less, much less.

  14. Peter Clarke 1
    Coat

    Obvious Quote

    I mentioned the war but I think I got away with it.

    For me the comment is over

    Mine's the one with the Fawlty Towers box set in the pocket

  15. AdamT
    Boffin

    Ahh, Boffins

    Nice to see the term still being used. Personally, given my education/previous jobs in engineering, I'd be please to be called a boffin. But, given my current employment by an investment bank, I'm more likely to be called something else begining with B....

  16. Graham Bartlett

    @Christoph

    "People do not become cackling maniacs simply by being born in a particular geographic area."

    I see you've never walked around Sloan Square then.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I always feel like somebody's watching me

    Vonderful, vonderful. The only problem with things like this, nowadays, is that the cams will invariably become mandatory before getting tied into the local school board cctv net for drug checking and attached to the over-the-road automatic license plate snoopery just to "improve servicing" or something. And then stored indefinately despite promises to delete unneeded images in a timely matter. Because you never know, right?

    Paranoid? Moi? Being paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. And so far, we have ample proof the latter at least is increasingly true. Deciding the former therefore is a bit of a moot point, no?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    USB output, eh......

    How long, I wonder, before insurance companies start refusing claims because the little box recorded that you dozed off behind the wheel?

    Or even refusing future cover after the first time it happened.

    Because once it's proved to work there will come a time when this type of device will be mandatory in all new cars.

  19. david wilson

    Win/win

    Seems like a good invention, and if they put a black box function in, I guess even when it *doesn't* work, we can at least see what someone was doing in the last N seconds before a crash.

  20. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    I was a little concerned...

    That if I wrote "When I read about bombing along the autobahn my first thought was 'If only Messerschmidt still made cars' " I might be thought a pit un-PC.

    Shouldn't have worried.

  21. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Germany 1 - Britain 0

    Perhaps a more interesting nationalist angle is why the UK still has speed limits on motorways when German autobahns have fewer fatalities. Are Germans just innately more sensible drivers? I drove a Merc at 140mph there and the only risk was my failure to check my rear view mirror, causing a Porche to brake to halve its speed. The German somehow refrained from flashing or gesticulating when he did pass me. In comparison your average Brit feels justified in occupying the overtaking lane at 60mph for twenty minutes because there is a lorry somewhere on the horizon.

    1. david wilson

      @Danny2

      I guess there are a whole host of differences that may be hard to untangle - how busy roads are, number of lanes, typical journey length, freight/car balance, etc.

  22. Bill Fresher

    Excellent

    Soon we'll have these watching us while we sit in our offices... look away from the computer screen for half a second too long and BAM, fired.

  23. Richard Morris

    My car already has a device to wake me if I nod off

    It's called an airbag...

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