2021 E-Class will use capacitive sensing to check for hands on the wheel

Previously, the E-Class (and other Mercedes-Benz vehicles) determined whether a driver’s hands were on the steering wheel by measuring movement in the wheel. The problem with this method is that it’s often hard to get the balance right of how much movement needs to be measured to say for sure that a hand is on the wheel…

Other companies have gone in a much different direction when it comes to monitoring drivers’ attention while Autopilot-like features are active. Super Cruise, which is the driver assistance package on Cadillac’s cars, uses eye tracking cameras to make sure the driver is looking out at the road ahead. Cadillac is so confident in this method’s effectiveness that it allows drivers to use Super Cruise hands-free, though only on highways that the company has specifically mapped out. (Cadillac also uses capacitive sensors in its steering wheel in combination with the camera system.)