The automaker’s Wearables Lab may one day alert vehicles when drivers are becoming sleepy.
Automaker, Ford, has now launched a new Automotive Wearables Experience Lab, which is located in Dearborn, Michigan and which has been designed to provide a place where mobile technology such as smartwatches can be used for improving the safety and ease of driving.
Ford is far from the only car company that has stepped into testing wearable technology.
Other auto manufacturers that are experimenting with mobile technology and wearable tech currently include Audi, BMW and Volvo. That said, Ford is making a clear effort to move beyond gimmicky features and into more practical tools. Within the Research and Innovation Center, researchers from Ford are currently working on mobile apps for smartwatches that will use sensors within the devices to collect bio data. Among the information it may collect includes blood glucose levels and blood pressure, as well as the heart rate.
The use of this type of information collected by mobile technology could flag sleepy drivers in real time.
In this way, a smartwatch would be able to collect the bio data needed to indicate whether a driver is getting sleepy or stressed. That information could be wirelessly transmitted to the vehicle in real time. The way that data could be used has yet to be disclosed – perhaps to provide an alert to the driver to become more aware of his or her physical or emotional state – but it is assumed that it would be transmitted to the driver assist software of the vehicle.
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Aside from the features that are meant exclusively for safety, the vehicle tech may also one day be able to send an alert via wearable technology – such as a vibration or LED alert to a smartwatch – in order to let a driver know if there are traffic issue ahead such as roadwork or a collision. This could allow the driver to find an alternate route well ahead of time, before becoming stuck in a traffic jam.
Other types of mobile technology are also being considered by the Ford research team, such as smartglasses and fitness bands, among others. It has also reported that it is testing out the use of voice commands for the smartwatch app called MyFord Mobile.