Ford is exploring biometric, mobile, and wearable technologies to improve the driver experience in its vehicles, the company has announced.
The car maker has just opened what it calls the Automotive Wearables Experience Lab in its Research and Innovation Center in Michigan. There, it is looking at how it can leverage biometric indicators on wearables to improve the driving experience and enhance safety, such as by using smartwatch sensors to track biometrics related to driver alertness, and then adjusting semi-autonomous driving features in response. It’s an angle that other companies are exploring, too, with examples like Harman International Industries’ recently announced in-car pupil analysis system.
Ford has also issued an ‘app developer challenge’, inviting employees to submit app ideas on how wearables can be used for in-vehicle health metrics. Given the growing sophistication of mobile device and smartwatch sensors, there will likely be some interesting ideas, with participating Ford employees eligible to win up to $10,000 in prizes.
Finally, the company is looking to add voice control to its MyFord Mobile smartwatch app. Like other such apps from rival car makers, its functionality is limited to actions like letting users remotely lock and unlock doors and start their cars. But given the company’s growing interest in leveraging wearables and other sophisticated technologies, these capabilities could soon expand in big ways.