Innovation That Matters

Smart cap

Smart hat helps truck drivers stay awake

Work & Lifestyle

A new wearable uses sound, light and vibration to alert drivers when they are starting to doze off behind the wheel.

Launched to celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary of trucks production in Brazil, the Ford Motor Company’s SafeCap prototype is a smart hat that alerts drivers to their drowsiness. With sleepiness a leading cause of crashes involving truck drivers, the SafeCap is designed as a preventive. After mapping the typical head, neck and shoulder movements of drivers, the cap was equipped with a gyroscope and accelerometer in order to detect atypical motions that indicate when sleep is imminent.

The first step in alerting a driver is sound, followed by light and vibration. The cap’s sensors are sensitive enough to detect a pre-sleep physiological change that involves relaxation in the neck muscles. By waking the driver before sleep occurs, Ford hopes to help reduce the numbers of on-the-job accidents and injuries. The company plans to make the hat available for sale sometime in 2018.

While a lot of the technology and experimentation in vehicular innovation has focused on cars, a number of projects have indicated the potential for significant developing in the trucking industry. In Germany, e-ink signs on the back of truck trailers display real-time traffic and weather information, as well as location-specific advertising, and a company in Sweden is currently developing a driverless, emission-free electric trucking system. How could long-haul transport companies help connect these ideas to create a more sustainable (and safe) industry?



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