Ford Developing New Wearable Technology at Research and Innovation Center
Ford is attempting to branch out as much as possible from being perceived as merely a maker of automobiles. With investments in mobility, technology, and data collection, Ford is researching and developing new wearable devices (e.g. smartwatches) that could wind up providing drivers better connection with their vehicles. It’s like a Cronenberg film, only without all the Karo syrup goo and Marilyn Chambers in the lead role.
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“As more consumers embrace smart watches, glasses and fitness bands, we hope to develop future applications that work with those devices to enhance in-car functionality and driver awareness,” said Gary Strumolo, global manager for vehicle design and infotronics, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
The Automotive Wearables Experience laboratory at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn is host to these various innovations. Researchers there are attempting to create a better link between drivers and various driver-assist features, including the development of a health-monitoring system that will better inform the way that technological features such as adaptive cruise control and Blind Spot Information System react to situations.
In one example, if a driver’s heartrate is rapidly increasing, the monitor will adjust BLIS and adaptive cruise control to give the driver a larger cushion between the next vehicle. In another, augmented reality optics (aka smart glasses) will provide drivers more information on vehicles when they visit a Ford dealership for a test drive.
This research will no doubt play a significant role in the continued development of autonomous vehicle technology.
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