Ford Improves Safety With Driver Stress Detectors
|   Saturday, June 30, 2012
Every driver knows that sometimes standing behind the wheel for hours can be quite boring, like when you are alone on a desert highway. Boredom can be a serious distracting factor, and when distraction comes in, accidents are likely to happen. Exhaustion also has the same ending. It is all too easy to lose focus for a few seconds, during which a lot of nasty things can happen.

The same is true when you have too much to pay attention to, or the stress levels are going through the roof.
Inattention has caused many accidents, and will likely continue to do so, in spite of the ever growing level of technology. Extremes are never good, neither at the wheels, nor in other life related aspects.

Anyway, both of the aforementioned causes for accidents may find a solution. Ford is presently researching a way to identify the exact level of comfort that keeps the driver's attention focused regardless of traffic conditions or boredom. Ford hopes to perfect this technology so that a driver will always have the optimal level of attentiveness by limiting distractions or providing various alerts.

The system will gather all the necessary data through sensors built into the steering wheel and seat belt. Based on that data it will determine a driver's attention level. Via metal plates, similar to gym equipment, built into the steering wheel it can sense pulse, while data on breathing is gathered thanks to a sensor incorporated in the seatbelt. Furthermore, infrared sensors will monitor temperature fluctuations in the driver's body, which may indicate whether he is getting agitated or calmer. Based on that data, the system will take an appropriate decision.

In case an attention boost is necessary, the system will take data from onboard sensors, leveraging systems like blind spot detection and lane-keeping assist to detect traffic flow nearby, as well as gather input from throttle and steering position in order to evaluate the driver's responsiveness and attention. Also, the system will tap into the SYNC and MyFord Touch systems if you connect them to your phone and mute any incoming calls or messages thanks to the "Do Not Disturb" setting. Thus, the driver is left to concentrate solely on driving and not be bothered by something else.

As fine as all that sounds, everything above is still in the research phase. Ford has a few working prototypes, but they are just that, prototypes. So far, no date as to when everything will be available has been advanced. However, it is quite likely that we will not have to wait decades before all the above becomes reality; instead we can expect a few years from now to see the first Ford car equipped with this tech. The costs of installing this system on a vehicle will not be small, no doubt about that, but if implemented in a large enough number of cars, Ford can still make a profit while buyers will not have to sell their souls to vendors.
PHOTO GALLERY
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