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Mobileye won't judge you for being a bad driver

System uses a camera to watch for pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and speed limits. Audio and visual alerts in the car and on your smartphone help counteract the inevitable bouts of distracted driving.

Mobileye simulator at CES
The Mobileye simulator at CES gives you an idea of how it works under actual driving conditions. Amanda Kooser/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Humans can be such terrible drivers. We're checking text messages, drinking coffee, and doing needlepoint behind the wheel (yes, I saw that happen!). Advanced driver assistance systems are trying to save us from our folly.

Mobileye creates these high-tech systems. I was able to plug into a simulator at CES to check out the new 5-Series.

The 5-Series handles a lot of the multitasking people are so bad at. It watches for pedestrians, looks out for bicyclists, checks that you're in your lane, and even reads speed limit signs with a front window-mounted camera.

Mobileye 560
The 560 kit includes the round visual alert indicator. (Click to enlarge.) Mobileye

The simulator was great about scolding me with beeps for wandering out of my lane and getting up too close on the butt of the car in front of me. The round visual alert indicator was especially helpful, giving feedback on how many seconds away the next car was.

The 5-Series doesn't give you a license to do your makeup in the rear-view mirror, though.

Even with a smart camera, proprietary algorithms, and a microprocessor looking out for you, you will still only have two to three seconds to respond to an emergency situation. Those few seconds can make the difference between a crash and a close call.

The Mobileye app for Android is already out, with the iOS version just waiting for Apple approval. The app connects with the system to log your driving habits and give you alerts while you're on the road.

The Mobileye system comes in two flavors. The 550 is $749 and the 560 with the visual warning device is $849. You'll need professional installation if you want to hook up the automatic high-beam controls.