As last week’s CES proved, the automotive industry is fast merging with the technology industry, spurred on by increased competition and consumer demand more than anything else. Now one of the major players, Ford, has announced a new initiative designed to explore how wearables can be better used in concert with your car.
The Automotive Wearables Experience lab at its Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan is Ford’s facility dedicated to testing and developing cutting edge technology that connects you to your car via wearable technology.
In a video posted on Monday (below), Ford showed off the lab facility and showcased one tester using what looks like a smartwatch to receive notifications from the car simulator.
Specifically, the driver in the test received his own health and sleep information just as the car started up, two vital data points that could help a driver maintain his or her awareness during a long road trip. After the initial connection is made, the car’s system can detect the driver’s health data and then adjust its own safety systems to compensate for any deficiencies on the driver’s part.
Examples of those automatic adjustments include increasing the distance between other cars when the car is in cruise control mode and sending an alert to the driver’s wrist to take over in cases when the car is in semi-autonomous mode.
Wearable technology integrated with the vehicle allows for more accurate biometric data to stream continuously and alert active driver-assist systems to become more sensitive if the driver shows signs of compromised health or awareness,” said Gary Strumolo, global manager for vehicle design and infotronics at Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, in a statement on the company’s website.
Other lab projects include an augmented reality system using smart glasses and a smartwatch version of MyFord Mobile, which is currently in the testing phase.
“As more consumers embrace smart watches, glasses and fitness bands,” Strumolo said, “we hope to develop future applications that work with those devices to enhance in-car functionality and driver awareness.”