Aggressive driver, defensive driver, middle-of-the-road driver; all drivers have a unique set of habits and behaviors behind the wheel that determine their individual style of driving.

DaimlerChrysler researchers in Germany have developed computer software that constantly monitors and analyzes a driver's maneuvers, such as acceleration, braking and steering, then classifies the driver by style. The computer program goes even further: it adapts the engine and transmission within a fraction of a second to accommodate the individual's driving style. The computer software also recognizes changes in driving conditions, such as a move from expressway to city street driving. The result is a more comfortable ride, better fuel economy and a longer service life for the automobile.

To classify driver behavior, the DaimlerChrysler researchers developed a statistical model that compares the individual driver with a data pool compiled from field experiments with a group of 20 drivers. From a spectrum of driver categories ranging from very steady to highly aggressive, the software classifies the driving behavior prevailing at any time.

The computer then uses the classification to adjust and optimize vehicle performance.