LONDON: Ford’s new ‘Driver Behaviour Project’ has taken driving to an altogether different level where fitness meets driving. As a part of Ford’s bigger Smart Mobility push, a fitness app has been bought in place to push the drivers to discover their level of fitness.
Not only so, but this app will take driving sky high by inspiring the drivers to be a pressure performer. The app convinces them to mend their wicked ways on the highway and provide feedback that helps drivers self-improve and a ratings score that enables them to qualify for cheaper car rentals or lower insurance rates.
The research for the same was thoroughly conducted in London with 43 Ford Fiesta drivers. A plug-in device captured their driving habits such as acceleration, braking, pedal pressure, steering wheel angle, and steering micro-movements, as well as time of day and location. There are both normal and stressful driving situations. Sensors record driver eye movement, heart rate, and brain waves.
“Like an activity-tracking app that shows the distance we cover and calories we burn, a personal driver score encourages people to drive smarter,” said Jonathan Scott, project lead, Ford Smart Mobility. “We wanted to better understand how people use our products so we could help them to improve that behaviour – and a score, combined with guidance, makes it easier to improve.”
A rating for the same will be given based on a score card upto 10. However, according to the survey, most drivers prefer to have a score of 8/10 rather than of 10/10 as it means no spirited driving at all.
“From the vehicle data and research gathered, we were able to test an internally developed, highly advanced driving score algorithm. The score could be used to develop a mobility profile, enabling drivers to save money on services tailored to their needs,” Scott added.
Ford is currently expanding into both an auto and a mobility company; as such the company is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility – its plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. The Driver Behaviour Project could help to enhance current mobility solutions, including the on-demand GoDrive car sharing service and the on demand ride sharing service GoRide.
The project team is also studying how driving affects the physical and emotional states of another group of volunteers in the U.K., at the University of Nottingham. This research is exploring ways to help people become better drivers.
Volunteers are subjected to a series of driving situations, both using a driving simulator and real world driving, during which their heart rates, eye movements, and brain patterns are monitored. The research highlights when drivers are nervous or stressed, such as in heavy traffic, or when larger vehicles reduce visibility.
- Harsha Masand