Drivers who begin to doze at the wheel could be spared disaster on the road by cars fitted with vibrating steering wheels and an alarm.
British microchip giant ARM has claimed that the new innovation could eradicate concentration lapses which are responsible for more crashes on British roads than any other factor.
The Cambridge-based firm say they have developed a camera which monitors a driver's eyes that can detect lapses in focus, including nodding off.
The system warns the driver by sending pulses through the wheel and sounding an alarm in the cockpit.
Road safety experts have warned that accidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries have increased 4 pc in the past year.
Gadgets like satellite navigation systems and mobile phones are blamed for the spike.
Richard York, vice-president of ARM, said that sensors are already being used by manufacturers to hep prevent front-end crashes and that monitors that “look into vehicles” to check the driver's response are an obvious next step.
He told The Times: “The evidence is that almost all accidents are caused by drivers not paying attention.
"Electronics can play a big role in looking into the vehicle to keep an eye on the driver and make sure he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing, driving.”
Mr York said the technology, which will be mounted beside the car's rear-view mirror, will scan a driver’s eyes and check their “blink rate” for signs of fatigue.
The firm predicts that the technology is just “few years away from mass deployment".