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Ford Looks to Biometrics to Keep You Focused, Safe, Healthy


Engineers at Ford are looking to develop an intelligent car system that would put KITT from Knight Rider to shame.

As a part of its Research and Innovation labs, Ford is developing this sytem to help drivers stay focused, safe and healthy on the road.

“Ford has been a leader in delivering solutions for in-car communications and simplifying the user interface, and now we’re researching ways to use the car’s own intelligence to further help drivers,” Jeff Greenberg, senior technical leader of Ford Research and Innovation said. “Vehicle control inputs, sensors, road conditions and biometric information such as a driver’s pulse and breathing can all be used to create a driver workload estimation that can then help manage certain functions in demanding situations.”

Biometric data interpreted by your car helps determine the amount of external demand and workload upon you at any time, including traffic and road conditions. In keeping with its health and wellness research, including the development of a biometric seat, seat belt and steering wheel, these cars will be able to quickly assess your specific state of being.

“Biometrics or health information of the driver can help us better tailor the experience when behind the wheel,” Gary Strumolo, manager of vehicle design and infotronics said.

This system uses unintrusive biometric sensors throughout the car to keep track of what’s going on. This includes sensors behind the steering wheel and spokes to monitor your palms, under the steering column to gauge the internal cabin temperature, as well as in the seatbelt to monitor your respiration.

Check out the basic design here.

Additionally, Ford’s system uses data gathered from different sensors such as radar and cameras combined with inputs from your use of the throttle, brakes and steering wheel to assess any traffic situation. It’s so intelligent it’ll warn you of any impending collisions based on visual data and cues from your driving patterns inside the car.

“While these features are still in research, they show significant opportunity for us to leverage data already being captured by the vehicle and apply an intelligent decision-making system to simplify the driving experience,” Strumolo said.

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