Ford opens Automotive Wearables lab to test smart driving tech

Ford has been near the head of the pack in incorporating new technology into their vehicles lately. Engineers at the company are working hard to connect their cars more closely with drivers in a number of new, interesting ways.

This week, Ford has announced the new Automotive Wearables Experience lab opening at their research centre. In the new labs, teams will be experimenting with ways that smart bands, glasses and watches can help drivers be more aware of their vehicles, and vice versa.

Ford is looking at links between a driver’s health information, such as stress or attention level, and connecting that with safety features in the vehicle. For example, if a driver’s heart rate is elevated, and traffic is heavy, cruise control and blind spot detection could automatically increase the relative distances between cars. On the other end, if a driver is tired, assistive features like lane detection could become even more sensitive to prevent a crash.

In less obvious cases of potential danger, having live biometric data for a driver could also trigger preventative measures in the case of compromised health, or even contact emergency services. Semi-autonomous driving would be another area that could benefit from wearable technology, as a smartwatch could physically signal a driver to take control of a vehicle on the highway in the event of an obstruction or an upcoming construction zone.

Ford is just getting started with potential applications for the integration of wearable technology, but safety and security will be a focus of the group.