Falling asleep at the wheel is no joke and, according to the American Automobile Association, it results in 6,400 fatal crashes a year. A number of auto manufacturers are recognizing this problem and to mark Drowsy Driving Awareness Day on April 6, Nissan is presenting its Driver Attention Alert (DAA) system as part of the safety package for the 2016 Nissan Maxima, which is debuting at the New York International Auto Show.
Nissan's DAA is based on the premise that most drivers don't just zonk out without warning – they show gradual deterioration in performance that can be detected before the situation becomes dangerous. The Nissan system does this by monitoring the driver's behavior and alerts him if he seems drowsy or inattentive by sounding a chime and a flashing little amber coffee cup with a message saying "Take a break?" on the dash display.
The system uses steering angle sensors to monitor the driver's baseline steering patterns. It then continues to monitor using a statistical analysis of steering correction errors. After taking into account false positives, road curvatures, lane changes, braking, and poor road conditions, if the driver's behavior still seems sub par, the DAA sounds the reminder alert.
The system resets itself each time the car is switched off and the driver can disable the DAA function as well. The company also stresses that the DAA is only a warning tool and cannot detect every instance of inattention.
The DAA is available on the new Nissan Maxima, the flagship sedan in Nissan's product lineup which is based on the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept.
Despite being 2.2 in (5.6 cm) longer and 1.3 in (3.3 cm) lower than its predecessor, the Maxima is 82 lb (37 kg) lighter and has 25 percent more torsional rigidity. Nissan says that the 300 bhp (220 kW) 3.5-liter V6 engine has undergone significant changes with a revised cylinder head design, as well as new piston surfacing, piston rings, sodium-filled exhaust valves, and oil pan.
Inside, Nissan stresses the quietness of the ride with a laminated windscreen and front windows combined with an Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system to keep the peace. In addition, there's diamond-quilted seat inserts, stitching on the instrument panel, doors and console, and a D-shaped steering wheel on the Maxima SR.
The 2016 Nissan Maxima will be available this year for US$32,410.