In what could be immensely important and life-saving research, Ford has is working with neuroscientists to detect when drivers are tired, distracted or not concentrating and the precise moment they switch off from giving their driving enough attention. Ford says that driver fatigue may be a contributing factor in up to 25 per cent of fatal and serious road incidents.
Ford’s top brain boffin, Stefan Wolter, said: “The brain processes huge amounts of information when we are driving, but that may change as driver assistance technologies do some of the driving for us. Drivers also get tired and their minds can wander. Identifying more quickly when this happens could be of critical importance.”
Working with neuroscientists, Ford is hoping that by identifying the brain responses that reveal lapses in concentration, it may then be possible to match the scans to their physical manifestations – such as changes in heart rate or breathing. Should a loss in concentration become apparent, for example if a change in heartbeat variability was detected via wearable technology, the vehicle could then alert the driver.