Future Ford Vehicles To Read Driver With Wearable

January 11, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

If you’ve ever been forced to be behind the wheel while stressed out, scared or even so sleepy you have a hard time keeping your eyes open, you know how scary and unsafe these conditions all are, each in their own way. According to a recent announcement, Ford is looking to spare drivers the dangerous commute and added stress that comes with driving under those conditions.The way they’re proposing doing this is by letting your vehicle read your current emotional, physical and mental state using physical cues given by a wearable.

Things like your heart rate and amount of sleep you got the night before taking the wheel would be measured via the wearable and the vehicle would react in kind. Drowsy drivers would get extra help from the lane keep assist function. Drivers with soaring heart rates would see their car’s autonomous functions help keep them further away from other cars so they get a chance to calm down. Other cues and reactions may well be in the works, but not much has been announced just yet. Alerts via wearable are also possible. For example, if you’re dozing off and about to slip out of your lane or miss your exit, a wearable could vibrate or sound off to snap you back to reality. Similarly, if your vehicle is in self-driving mode and finds it has encountered something it can’t navigate or thinks it will find such a thing not far up the road, it could alert you to be ready to take the wheel.

Voice commands for controlling the locks, locating your vehicle and starting it up are all in testing as well. Ford’s Sync system’s future Android Auto plans and current compatibility with Android and iOS could only help to foster this burgeoning connection between vehicle and driver. Ford also has compatibility with Android Wear and iOS baked into their MyFord Mobile system an app contest going until March Between all these factors, it’s not hard to imagine that all these functions may be available not via a Ford-branded or in-vehicle wearable, but through your smartphone and an associated app or through the full-featured smartwatch or fitness tracker that may be on your wrist right now.