Ford Just Made a Hat That Can Save a Driver’s Life

Credit: Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

To celebrate 60 years of making trucks in Brazil, the engineers at Ford decided to create something for the people who drive them. Specifically, they invented a cap that senses when a driver is about to fall asleep, and uses light, sound and vibration to wake them back up.

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The hat, called the SafeCap, was produced in collaboration with the Sao Paolo-based creative firm GTB. Together, the two companies studied the differences in how drivers normally move their heads (checking a blind spot or glancing down at the speedometer, for instance) and the motions commonly associated with dozing off—an action that can often be fatal. SafeCap, equipped with a gyroscope and an accelerometer, can distinguish between the two types of movement. And when it senses its wearer is falling asleep at the wheel, the hat starts vibrating, making noise, and flashing lights from the brim until it detects the driver is awake.

While it was created as a concept piece for truckers, who can drive up to 11 hours in a single shift, Ford is hopeful that it can improve the hat and make it available to drivers in other countries.

“We are working to scale this product,” Oswaldo Ramos, Ford’s head of sales, marketing and service in Brazil, in an interview with Fast Company. “And would appreciate any insights or suggestions from partners around the world regarding how to make the SafeCap more effective and efficient.”

And if it means one less sleepy driver on the road, the effort will be worth it.