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Ford's high-tech trucker hat might save lives

The new SafeCap from Ford tracks head movements to determine if a wearer is about to doze off.

The trucking industry is a demanding field where drivers have to maneuver many miles on tight deadlines, sometimes requiring them to drive through the night — a risky practice for road-weary drivers. But in celebration of 60 years of truck production in Brazil, Ford is trying to help remedy the problem by developing a hat that alerts drivers that they might be falling asleep.

It’s called the SafeCap, and it was produced in Sao Paulo by Ford and a creative agency called GTB. Together, they conducted research that figured out which head movements were standard for drivers doing their jobs and which were associated with nodding off, Fast Company reported. They developed software that can tell the difference and rigged a trucker hat with sensors that alert the wearer through alarms, lights and vibrations that he or she may be snoozing.

“SafeCap, which began as a local market project, continues to grow as we see potential around the world,” Ford’s head of sales, marketing and service in Brazil, Oswaldo Ramos, told the magazine. “After we conclude our Brazilian tests, the goal is to share with other countries.”

Ford is hoping that the reaction to SafeCap is similar to what the automaker experienced earlier this year when it produced a baby crib that mimicked a car’s movements and sounds to help children sleep. Demand for the crib — which was initially designed to be a one-off marketing project — prompted the company to make it available for purchase.

SafeCap is still in production, and Ford is open to ideas from anyone who might be able to make it better.

“We are working to scale this product,” Ramos said, “and would appreciate any insights or suggestions from partners around the world regarding how to make the SafeCap more effective and efficient.”


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