What Ford Has Planned for Wearable Tech

Ford driver wearing smartwatch January 2016

The rising popularity of wearable technology is causing a ripple effect in which brands from a variety of industries feel that they should accommodate this tech into their products or risk losing customers.  This move – made recently by brands such as Ford – is one based on perception, but it is a good move nonetheless.

The number of wearable devices shipped worldwide is expected to reach 135 million in 2018, up from just 9.7 million in 2013.  Of this number, some 87 percent are expected to be wrist-worn devices such as smart-watches.

This amount of consumer demand has caused Ford, among other brands, to begin an initiative which will attempt to discover how wearable tech can be used in unison with the driving experience.

The Ford Automotive Wearables Experience

Dearborn, Michigan –which is the home to the Ford Motor Company – might be associated more with tradition than innovation, given the company’s contribution to the automotive industry over the past century.  However, it was once the site of great technological advancement as it refined the design for what would become one of the most popular vehicles of the early century.  And, as things stand, it is primed to once again drive technological development.

The automotive powerhouse has launched a division which it calls the Automotive Wearables Experience lab, which is a centre for research and development of the integration of wearable tech with the traditional driving experience.

How Ford Plans to Increase the Driver Experience

The company’s first goal is to improve driver safety.  With wearable tech and smart-watches being able to detect changes in the state of the body, this information can be used to determine the driver’s ultimate ability.

Tests already conducted by the company have seen drivers’ sleep patterns and general health analysed by their wearables upon entering the car.  This provides an initial reading on safety.  Thereafter, this information is used in conjunction with other data, such as the distance between the driver’s car and other cars on the road.  In cruise-control mode drivers’ wrists are alerted if they get too close to other cars or obstacles.

This should ultimately provide an increased level of spatial awareness that drivers are simply not capable of at the moment.  Blind spots will no longer be hazards as cars will have eyes where drivers don’t.

After the safety aspect has been refined, the technology could be applied to various other factors of vehicle transport.  But, with our roads becoming increasingly more dangerous, chances are good that many South Africans would be ultimately satisfied with an increase in safety alone.

Image credit: https://www.jenningsmotorgroup.co.uk/blog/ford-looking-to-introduce-wearable-technology/6264/