Hats off to Ford’s safety idea
An ordinary-looking hat developed at Ford Brazil’s Heavy Truck division is helping truck drivers work more safely and avoid the travel fatigue common during their routine trips.
Although it looks like virtually any other hat, the Safe Cap is fitted with sensors that interpret the driver’s head movements to warn when the user becomes tired or sleepy behind the wheel.
Three kinds of signals - vibration, sound, and light flashes - warn the driver to stop for a rest before following with the drip. A study identified movements from truck drivers related to normal work and those that indicate drowsiness. This data was transferred to the central processing unit of the hat which connects to an accelerometer and a gyroscope to identify each type of situation.
Ford tested the Safe Cap, developed as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of Ford truck production in Brazil, for eight months among a selected group of drivers for more than 3,000 miles in real driving conditions.
After further testing, patenting, and certification Ford is interested in sharing the technology with partners and customers to advance its development and enable its market introduction.