Being a trucker means driving huge distances on demanding deadlines. And one of the biggest dangers in trucking is the threat of drivers falling asleep at the wheel. To celebrate 60 years of truck production in Brazil, Ford decided to try to help the problem by creating a hat that tracks head movements and alerts drivers in danger of snoozing.
Working with Sao Paulo-based office of creative agency GTB, the company developed the Ford SafeCap. After conducting research identifying which head movements were associated with the job and which indicated lack of attention and fatigue, the companies developed software to tell the difference and outfitted the trucker cap with sensors and a gyroscope to warn the driver with sound, light, and vibration.
It’s an obvious brand-building exercise that may or may not find a bigger life as an actual product, and Ford is no stranger to marketing projects that go beyond a one-off concept. Earlier this year in Spain, the company unveiled a smart crib that mimicked a car’s motion and sensory experience to help babies fall asleep, and the response was so strong it became an available option for car buyers. The company is hoping the SafeCap will experience a similar reception. Since the hat was unveiled at South America’s largest truck show, a GTB spokesperson says they’ve received thousands of requests asking how and where to buy the product.
“SafeCap, which began as a local market project, continues to grow as we see potential around the world,” says Oswaldo Ramos, Ford’s head of sales, marketing and service in Brazil. “After we conclude our Brazilian tests, the goal is to share with other countries.”
But the project is far from finished. The company is hoping that by talking about SafeCap, they’ll be able to find more innovative partners to refine the product.
“We are working to scale this product,” says Ramos. “And would appreciate any insights or suggestions from partners around the world regarding how to make the SafeCap more effective and efficient.”