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Ford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology join forces to reduce driver stress

Auto manufacturer Ford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced that they are teaming up for an advanced research project that explores automotive technology solutions to reduce driver stress. The aim is to study driver workload and identify new opportunities to use in-vehicle technologies to improve driver safety (and overall wellbeing) by lowering stress.

Partnering with MIT's renowned AgeLab, the project will identify specific stress-inducing driving situations, monitor a driver's reaction to the situations using biometrics, and evaluate methods to incorporate new stress-reducing features into the next generation of Ford products. A six-month effort beginning in January will focus on human interaction with a specially equipped 2010 Lincoln MKS, a vehicle already recognized for its advanced safety features.


"We strongly believe that driving can be made safer by reducing the stress load placed on a driver," said Jeff Rupp, Ford manager, Active Safety Research.

Joseph Coughlin, founder and director of MIT's AgeLab, said: "Today's driver is feeling a greater level of anxiety than in the pass. This arises in part from the chronic stress in individuals' daily lives combined with longer commute times, increased driving demands due to traffic congestion and deteriorating infrastructure. By identifying specific situations and the physiological effect they have on the driver, we are seeking solutions that can bring the driver from a heightened stress level back to an optimal operational state and thereby make their commute safer and more comfortable, renewing the positive experience of driving and riding in an automobile."
 

December 31, 2009

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