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?