Supercar maker lines up tech that monitors driver and asjusts chassis set-up to suit
7 January 2011

Ferrari is working on in-car technology that will monitor a driver’s mental and physical state and adjust the car’s stability and traction control systems to suit, Autocar can reveal.

The technology is outlined in a series of Europe-wide and global patent applications. The documents show how Ferrari expects a range of sensors to provide the cars of the future with data on the driver, allowing it to adjust its set-up accordingly.

Ferrari’s application states: “Drivers tend to miscalculate — in particular, overestimate — their driving skill and, more importantly, their psychophysical condition, with the result that driver-selected dynamic vehicle performance simply reflects the driver’s wish, as opposed to the driver’s actual psychophysical condition and proficiency.”

Read more on the next Ferrari Enzo

The application describes a cabin housing “various (preferably non-invasive) biometric and psychometric sensors for recording and transmitting… the values of a number of psychophysical parameters of the driver”.

It adds: “The biometric sensors may comprise a piezoelectric measuring device for measuring the driver’s respiration, a device for measuring the driver’s blood pressure and heart rate, a television camera for monitoring the driver’s eyes (blink rate) to determine the driver’s alertness, a device for monitoring the electric activity of the driver’s brain, a device for recording the driver’s surface temperature and a device for recording the conductivity of the driver’s skin (to determine the degree of perspiration).”

A single line diagram with the application appears to indicate that sensors would be mounted in the cabin ceiling, dashboard, steering wheel and driver’s seat area. It also includes a manettino dial, indicating that Ferrari intends to continue offering the race-based driver control system.

Read Autocar's full road test of the Ferrari 458

The application is based on improving driver safety but could also be used to sharpen a car’s dynamics to better satisfy a more alert driver.

Ferrari says: “The dynamic performance may be modified to enhance driving safety in the case of a tired or unresponsive driver, and also to enhance driving pleasure and/or performance in the case of an alert, responsive driver.”

Greg Kable

See all the latest Ferrari reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Honda Civic
    Car review
    21 April 2017
    Honda’s 10th-generation Civic hatchback goes global — but is that good news?
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in
    First Drive
    21 April 2017
    Second-generation Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid gets a bigger battery with new 39-mile electric range, more tech and styling updates, but it's expensive
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 EcoTSI 150 DSG
    First Drive
    20 April 2017
    Addition of DSG automatic gearbox in this top-spec model doesn't show the Ateca small SUV in its best light
  • Isuzu D-Max Blade
    First Drive
    20 April 2017
    Isuzu treats its rough-and-ready D-Max pick-up truck to a new engine, revised looks, better hauling ability and more equipment
  • MG ZS
    First Drive
    19 April 2017
    We drive MG’s upcoming Ford Ecosport rival in China-spec; good looks and a smart interior bode well for the UK version