Recently on the blog, we wrote about an epidemic with fatal consequences – driving while drowsy. An estimated 60% of Americans have operated a vehicle while sleepy, and a whopping 40% have fallen asleep while driving!! In response to what is an incredibly dangerous practice, we offered 8 Tips for Staying Bright-Eyed While Driving. It was a popular post, but Ford may have just given us a 9th tool for staying awake on the road: Vibrating Trucker Hats!! Seriously. Let’s take a closer look!!
While hard-hats are gearing up for a high-tech revolution, trucker hats are being upgraded too!! In partnership with Ford Brazil’s Heavy Truck division, Ford has introduced the SafeCap, a trucker-style hat intended to combat drowsiness behind the wheel. The SafeCap has been programmed to recognize head movements via gyroscopic sensors, and can tell the difference between movements made during regular operation and movements associated with nodding-off. When drowsy motions are detected, the safety features are activated and the SafeCap alerts the driver with a combination of lights, sounds, and vibrations.
After an 8-month period of testing with real truckers who wore the cap while driving over 3,000 miles, the SafeCap debuted at South America’s largest truck show. Following the reveal, Ford says they have received thousands of requests for more information about how and where to purchase it. Currently the hat is a local market project, but Ford hopes to continue research and development, with the goal of offering the SafeCap to a worldwide audience.
The project is certainly unique, and has the potential to save lives. We wonder, of course, about the sensitivity of the device and the hat’s own potential for distracting from the road. How often could the device be activated by mistake? Is the alert system so sudden and jarring that it causes surprised truckers to dangerously swerve their massive vehicles? These questions are undoubtedly part of the SafeCap’s ongoing research, and we look forward to the device making its way into the U.S. so we can take a closer look. Anything that can save truckers’ lives and careers, we’re all for.
What do you think? Would you wear the SafeCap? Do you have a great idea for an invention that keeps drivers alert on the road? Let us know in the comments below!!