Ford explores call turnoffs for stressed-out drivers

Jun 28, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) -- No calls for you. That is the word from a new technology experiment by Ford, for stressed-out drivers who risk accidents by distractions from incoming calls, playing music, and other vehicle infotainment sources. Having to maneuver the vehicle in heavy traffic places demands on focused safe driving. Risks are compounded by distractions when coping with tricky ramp-merging scenarios or blind-spot monitoring or coping with other vehicles that are frequently changing lanes, for example. Ford this week performed a demo of its “Driver Workload Estimator” that will limit phone and text distractions when deciding that the driver’s stress levels call for safety intervention.

“With today's ever-increasing concern about driver distraction, engineers in the Research and Innovation labs are developing ways to help the driver stay focused in busy situations by intelligently managing incoming communications,” said the company.

Outstanding features in its new foray into workload-estimating is in the range of sensors taking information from the driver’s body. There is a palm temperature sensor, heart rate monitor, and a sensor in the seatbelt to check a driver’s breathing rate. In the company’s press statement, Gary Strumolo, manager of vehicle design and infotronics, Ford Research and Innovation, said."Biometric or health information of the driver can help us better tailor the experience when behind the wheel."

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Overall, the detectors would be using real-time data from throttle, brakes steering wheel, and seatbelt, and meshing it with information from sensors and cameras.

Ford is fundamentally working on an algorithm to create the estimator. So what good is all this monitoring, for what end? Based on the information received, the system then is designed to take steps to intervene and reduce when the driver is under heavy stress. Ford says that “the car could intelligently apply the Do Not Disturb feature that is already available as part of MyFord Touch, helping the driver stay focused on the road during the high-demand situation.” Ford’s algorithm asks the question if the driver is stressed or driving into a high-stress situation. If the answer is yes, Ford says the car would trim back auxiliary systems and beef up other ones so that the driver would remain as focused as possible. The data would determine external demands placed on the driver at any time due to traffic and road conditions. Sensors would gauge physical states, such as a rise in heart rate.

The car would then “intelligently” filter out . In lighter traffic and under safer conditions, the driver would then be allowed to field calls or get texts. The technology is still in research.

Explore further: Cadillac CT6 will get streaming video mirror

More information: media.ford.com/article_display… cfm?article_id=36728

Related Stories

Cadillac testing 'Super Cruise' feature for future cars

Apr 23, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Cadillac is reportedly joining the crowd working on features that it says should reduce car accidents by allowing the car to drive itself under optimal conditions, relieving the driver from fatigue, ...

BMW shows hands-free driving on Autobahn (w/ video)

Jan 24, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Move over, Google, or better still, stay off the Autobahn, best not to interfere with the main show, which now stars BMW and its technology feats with self-driving cars. BMW has been drawing ...

Automakers embrace high-tech in safety drive

Jan 11, 2012

Automakers displaying the latest technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are relying on sensors, digital cameras and connectivity in a drive towards a common goal -- eliminating accidents.

Recommended for you

Cadillac CT6 will get streaming video mirror

14 hours ago

Cadillac said Thursday it will add high resolution streaming video to the function of a rearview mirror, so that the driver's vision and safety can be enhanced. The technology will debut on the 2016 Cadillac ...

Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones (Update)

Dec 19, 2014

Americans broadly back tight regulations on commercial drone operators, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, as concerns about privacy and safety override the potential benefits of the heralded drone ...

Cheaper, more powerful VR system for engineers

Dec 17, 2014

It's like a scene from a gamer's wildest dreams: 12 high-definition, 55-inch 3D televisions all connected to a computer capable of supporting high-end, graphics-intensive gaming.

Nokia HERE prepares maps for autonomous cars

Dec 17, 2014

Autonomous cars will need a new kind of map, a crucial element that until now has been given a back seat to the more popularly discussed issues of sensors and legal questions. Senior Writer Greg Miller in ...

Dutch launch 'intelligent bicycle' that warns of danger

Dec 15, 2014

The Netherlands on Monday launched its first-ever "intelligent bicycle", fitted with an array of electronic devices to help bring down the high accident rate among elderly cyclists in the bicycle-mad country.

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dtxx
2 / 5 (4) Jun 28, 2012
Can't wait until this technology hangs up on someone having a heart attack trying to call for help. You appear to be under high stress based on your heart rate and erratic driving. Click!
I will not buy nanny-enhanced products.
TheQuietMan
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2012
Funny, that pretty much mirrors my first thought.
axemaster
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2012
This reminds me of microsoft word - incredibly over-automated and annoying to use. I don't use the cellphone when I drive, but even so, this kind of technological oversight is just obnoxious.
dschlink
not rated yet Jun 29, 2012
Since 97% of all drivers have abilities in the top 3%, they don't want and would over-ride anything that prevented them from sharing the experience of their next collision.
dan42day
1 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2012
Look Dave, I can see you're really upset...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.