Researchers have set out to make cars far smarter than today’s models—especially when it comes to dealing with their twitchy, tweaky, all-too-human drivers.
The project is starting out at Sandia National Laboratories outside
The next step of the research is to make some test drivers really bored. It will involve a convoy of drivers wearing brainwave-detecting caps, proceeding slowly around an abandoned artillery range in Europe—one with monotonous terrain—and waiting for boredom to set in, said Kevin Dixon, senior member of the technical staff at Sandia.
Smart cars could help in more general consumer situations by perhaps turning off your cell phone if they saw that you were struggling with traffic and didn’t need another distraction. Or a smarter car could ask you questions designed to enhance your alertness, if the car suspected you were paying less attention to your driving than road conditions required.
“It’s a matter of physics and physiology,”
If the driver does seem to be struggling with a difficult situation, “It might take over the cell phone and delay incoming call notification,”
For dire situations, the car makers might borrow Air Force technology, which uses recordings of women’s voice to warn pilots or has the control stick shake if a stall is imminent,
While deciding that a driver is too challenged is actually not much of a challenge, Dixon anticipates spending the next couple of years in a tedious quest to establish how a smart car might decide if the driver is dangerously underloaded.
“Studies show that nearly 90 percent of driving is considered distracted, meaning that the driver is not concentrating on driving,”
The Pentagon is very interested in the subject of bored, distracted drivers, he added. “In convoy operations, you are driving slowly through dust, staring at the rear of the truck in front of you,"
Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7) www.beyondgenes.com