Ford Is Working With Neuroscientists To Detect Driver Distractions

Being distracted whilst driving is never a good thing, which is why Ford has partnered up with Neuroscientists to spot distractions earlier on…

Automotive Neuroscience? 

In an unlikely partnership, Ford is collaborating with neuroscientists in order to detect when drivers are becoming distracted at a faster rate. Research aims to determine which brain responses reveal lapses in concentration. These will then, hopefully, be matched with physical changes – such as differences in breathing or heart rates. Such findings could then be used in wearable forms of technology, able to identify when a driver is losing concentration; at which point, a warning could be issued.

It’s hoped that the research, being carried out by Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, could potentially prevent accidents and even save lives. It could also spell the next generation in advanced driver assistance features. As of now, driver fatigue is a contributing factor in 25% of fatal and serious road collisions. One survey also suggests that around 40% of European drivers don’t take a sufficient number of breaks when driving on long journeys.

‘Critical Importance’ 

Stefan Wolter, research engineer, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford of Europe, commented on the research. He 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”.

Professor Klaus Mathiak, head of Psychoneurobiology and lead consultant for Psychosomatic Medicine, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, believes the research’s results could be ‘unique’. He said, “we believe that by capturing this data we could one day be able to generate unique physiological driver fingerprints so that drivers of the vehicles of the future can be prepared to react and to intervene immediately in case it is required”.

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