Ferrari is working on a new technology for their cars that will do almost anything, except read your mind.
The automaker began the idea for this new in-car system after deciding that car drivers most likely get very excited when they step into the drivers seat of a Ferrari. While this may sound like a no-brainer, Ferrari believes that the heightened state of exhilaration may actually lead them to drive more dangerously. But instead of attempting to change the drivers reaction, they are looking to this new technology to change the cars reaction.
This system will monitor many things about the driver, including heartbeat, blood pressure, brain activity, and facial reactions. Sensors inside the car will detect the heartbeat, blood pressure, and brain activity, while in-cabin cameras will record the facial reactions. The cars performance will then be adjusted through stability control systems based on what the sensors detect. Ferrari believes this technology will increase the safety of their vehicles, since it will monitor and adjust for things that can alter a drivers state or cause them to drive dangerously, such as excitement, fatigue, road rage, or being distracted. Ferrari also believes the system will help observe and research drivers reactions, from first-time drivers excitement to the moments right before a high-speed crash.
Some of the technology Ferrari is looking to add is already available on the market. Volvo currently uses heartbeat sensors in their vehicles, but for a different safety reason. Their sensors are in place to detect intruders in the back that the driver would be unaware of. There are also currently systems available in some vehicles that override drivers reactions that are deemed to be unsafe. Additionally, GM and Ford have announced plans to use technology that automatically adjust a cars performance when poor road or traffic conditions are detected.
Although the main reason behind this technology is to make Ferraris vehicles safer, they are already facing some opposition. While there is no doubt that safety should always be a concern, some people question whether this system would be better suited on a large truck, driven by a long distance truck driver. Many consumers feel that Ferraris are meant to be fun to drive, and technology that lessens the performance based on the drivers excitement would take away from the enjoyment factor. Additionally, there are questions of legal implications if a vehicle whose performance has been electronically changed is involved in an accident.
2011 already appears to be the year of vehicle safety, and Ferrari may be leading the pack. Whether they follow through with this system remains to be seen, but this certainly gives us a little glimpse into what we can expect in the future.