Nowadays watches are getting smart, wristbands are keeping a track of fitness, eye-optics are connecting the world. Technology has transformed everyday wearables into smart devices by adding more to their primitive capabilities. Such devices are well received by consumers who are in search of new options every now and then. Therefore to tap the potential of the wearable devices and to create a new synchronization between the smart wearables and vehicles, Ford Motor Company has set up a new Automotive Wearable Experience Lab at its Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan.
With the new Automotive Wearable Experience laboratory, the carmaker prepares to link health data to driver-assist technology, in order to learn more about the driver behind the wheel. Engineers and scientists are developing applications and ways to integrate the wearable devices and automobiles to create an impeccable technological understanding and connection between the car and the driver. Wearable innovations are part of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.
The health metrics on the developed wearable devices will help determine the driver’s wakefulness and health data including blood pressure, blood glucose and heart rate conditions. The info will be then sent to the vehicle which will further semi-autonomous driving features will kick in if the driver is stressed or sleepy. Features like lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control or Blind Spot Information System will turn up to assist the distressed driver. Also in situations which requires human at wheel, the technology will notify the driver to take control of the vehicle by sending wrist vibration or chimes, or even by activating flashing lights on the dash.
Researchers are also incorporating voice control on their smartwatch version of MyFord Mobile app. The app will allow Ford drivers to remotely start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle without touching their watch or smartphone. Alongwith this, the lab is working on another customer-focused experiment that involves augmented reality optics, or smart glasses, and the dealership experience. Customers would be provided with smart glasses that will offer them wide range of features from technical specifications to a virtual test drive.
Ford and Henry Ford Health System together have sponsored an app developer challenge for their employees in order to search for innovative technology for measuring in-vehicle health metrics. The participants have to create and submit app concepts that use vehicles and wearable devices as components – providing an effective health and wellness program for customers and patients of all ages and conditions. The submissions open on 20 January 2016 and the finalists for the first phase of the competition will be announced in March and the winners will take home $10,000 in prizes.