Ford Brazil Develops Cap That Combats Driver Fatigue

Ford Brazil’s Heavy Truck division is developing a driver's aid that will help combat travel fatigue using a clothing accessory that's synonymous with truckers: a trucker's hat it calls the Safe Cap. At first, the Safe Cap looks like an ordinary trucker's hat. However. it's equipped with sensors that can interpret a driver's head movements and determine if he or she is tired or sleepy behind the wheel. When the sensors detect that the driver is feeling fatigued while driving, it notifies the driver by vibration, and audible and visual alerts. The first step to create the Safe Cap came from a study conducted to identify the movements from the truck driver that are related to his or her normal work routine and the movements that indicate drowsiness. This database was then transferred to the central processing unit of the hat, which works connected to an accelerometer and a gyroscope to identify each type of situation. Ford has tested the Safe Cap for eight months using a select group of drivers for more than 5,000 kilometers in real driving conditions. It was also presented to traffic safety experts and sleep studies experts who recognized its potential to help the prevention of road accidents. The prototype still going through the test phase and, after that, it will follow with the process of patenting and certification. Currently, there are no plans for its production and commercialization for the short- and medium-term. However, Ford has shown interest in sharing this technology with partners and customers to advance its development and enable its market introduction. The Safe Cap was presented as part of the celebration of 60 years of production of Ford's Trucks in Brazil, "which symbolizes the spirit of innovation from the brand and its constant research investment focused on traffic safety and thousands of professionals who drive daily to move the economy of the country." "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," said Ford South America President Lyle Watters. "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."

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