Tag Archives: stress

“Connected” Cars: Distraction or Asset?

Recently, activists and parents have been speaking up on the dangers of distracted driving, using PSAs and popular TV shows like Glee to warn drivers of all ages. If a study from market researcher ABI is to be believed, though, the battle against distracted driving is uphill, barefoot, and through torrential rain.

Distracted driving is the all-encompassing term which includes talking on the phone, texting, or surfing the internet while driving. The answer isn’t as simple as outlawing cell phone use in the car, though. New touch-screen technologies in vehicles could also be considered distractions, and ABI’s projections predict that more than 60 percent of cars will be “connected” by 2017. Never mind getting teen drivers off their phones, imagine disconnecting cars from new technology. All those anti-cell phone laws will be worthless when people have a myriad of distractions built into their cars.

Of course, there is another way to look at this trend. Some of these new technologies allow for cars to communicate with each other and avoid collisions, and many people see “connected” cars as a step towards self-driving vehicles. People won’t have to worry about being distracted drivers because in the future, they won’t be driving at all. Until then, some of these “distractions” have safeguards built in to keep the driver safe, such as Ford’s SYNC and MyFord Touch system with driver stress test. The system measures the driver’s vitals, and when they show signs of stress or the road conditions worsen, all outside distractions are lessened. Incoming texts and calls through Ford SYNC are disabled, and the driver can better focus on safe driving.

Readers, we want to know what you think! Are these new technologies an asset and a step towards a brighter driving future, or are they a distraction that will endanger other drivers on the road? Leave a comment below, and let us know what you think!

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Ford’s New Safety Feature: Driver Stress Test

Today’s automakers continually amaze me. It is a really exciting time for new car technology with everything from self-driving cars to safety features protecting both drivers and pedestrians alike. The latest development from Ford, however, is more about the comfort and mental well-being of the driver and putting them in the best mindset to be a safe driver.

Ford is currently testing out biometric stress detectors which measure the driver’s temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate. When a driver shows indications of stress such as a heightened heart rate or if they are in high-stress driving situations based on speed or road conditions, the car will activate a Do Not Disturb function. Incoming texts or cell phone calls through SYNC and MyFord Touch systems will be ignored so the driver can better focus on driving.

Now, I can’t speak as to how well the prototype system works, but I love the concept behind Ford’s new anti-distracted driving system. I think that if this system eventually makes it to the market, it will be very popular with parents of teen drivers. Everyone from politicians to parent groups are trying to find a way to keep drivers off their phones while they are on the road, but having a hands-free system that disables itself when the driver is going too fast or driving on less-than-optimal roads is a step in the right direction.

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