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Ford and MIT Team Up To Improve Safety by Reducing Driver Stress
Date:12/30/2009

munications system, we are proactively guiding drivers away from difficult situations."

"The goal of this program is to take this one step further by creating the most comfortable driving environment possible so that our driver is always relaxed, calm and able to perform at peak performance," added Rupp.

Ford and MIT - partners in driver wellness

This current undertaking is the next step in an ongoing effort to study and, eventually, significantly improve driver wellness. Since 2004, Ford and MIT's AgeLab - in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation's New England University Transportation Center - have been working to develop vehicle systems that detect the state of a driver at key points in time. This project envisions using this information to adjust systems in the car in ways that reduce driver stress. One of the goals of this work is to help the driver recapture the wellness experience that driving once promised.

"Today's driver is feeling a greater level of anxiety than in the past, both from situations inside and outside the vehicle," said Joseph Coughlin, founder and director of MIT's AgeLab and the leader of this initiative since its outset. "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."

By monitoring biometrics such as heart rate, skin conductivity and eye movement, researchers at MIT have been working to develop a specific set of parameters for an embedded detection system that
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SOURCE Ford Motor Company
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