The usual methods of winding down the window or turning up the volume to stay awake on long journeys are mediocre at best, but a new system designed by Japanese company Denso Corporation may be the answer. It monitors drivers for drowsiness and responds by vibrating the driver’s seat and then blowing a cold draught onto their neck.

The system uses a steering wheel mounted infra-red camera that uses face recognition technology that notices if the driver’s eyes are shut for any extended periods of time. The company displayed its device alongside a prototype system that allows one car to automatically follow another vehicle ahead, from up to 200m away and up to 180km/h.

Another company has used a simpler approach to combat drowsiness. Leading sleep diagnostic specialist Dr Murray Johns has developed a pair of glasses that warn a driver of the onset drowsiness up to 15 minutes before they even feel sleepy. Labelled the 'Optalert', the system uses invisible light beams sent from the inner frame of the glasses to continually measure eye and eyelid movement.