You’ve got to take your hat off to Ford . . . but you can keep your cap on.
Ford’s Heavy Truck division in Brazil has developed an innovative solution to help truck drivers avoid fatigue.
The Safe Cap looks like an ordinary baseball cap, but comes equipped with built-in sensors that are capable of interpreting a driver’s head movements, to warn if the user is becoming tired or sleepy behind the wheel.
An alert is issued in three ways, with vibration, sound and light flashes – warning the driver it’s time to stop for a rest.
The cap is a result from a study conducted to identify the movements from the truck driver that are related to its normal work routine and the movements that indicate drowsiness.
This database was transferred to the central processing unit of the hat, which is connected to an accelerometer and a gyroscope to identify each type of situation.
The novelty was presented as part of the celebration of 60 years of production of Ford’s Trucks in Brazil.
“Ford is the first automotive company to think about creating a wearable device for drivers to use for the time when they are behind the wheel that can contribute to prevent accidents,” Lyle Watters, president of Ford South America, said.
“This way, we are able to reinforce our commitment on bringing embedded technology not only for vehicles, but also through accessories that are capable of making the lives of drivers easier and the focus on safety as a priority in our technology investments.”
Ford tested the Safe Cap for eight months with a selected group of drivers in more than 5000km of real driving conditions.
It was also presented to traffic safety experts and sleep studies experts who recognised its potential to help the prevention of road accidents.
The prototype is still in the testing phase and, after that, it will follow with the process of patenting and certification.
BUT and it’s a big but, there are no plans to put it into production in the short or medium term.
However, Ford has shown interest in sharing this technology with partners and customers to advance its development and enable its market introduction.