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Should Your Car Decide When to Answer Your Phone?

As we've discussed here on PumpTalk before, it seems like our cars are taking over more and more of the driving. But until we all have self-driving cars, we're still responsible for our actions on the road - and in our increasingly connected world, minimizing in-car distractions to focus solely on driving can be a real challenge.

With that in mind, the folks at Ford Research are developing a Driver Workload Estimator that would determine whether to allow incoming calls while you're driving.

The Workload Estimator would take into account traffic/road conditions and vehicle operations as well as your own biometric activity (measured through sensors on the steering wheel) to decide whether or not you are too stressed out in the car to allow that incoming call from your mom.

They have a couple of handy infographics explaining how the system would work:


On the one hand, I think this is really interesting - when I'm already stressed out on the road, not having to make a decision about answering a call would be nice. On the other hand, after seeing countless drivers fiddling with their smartphones behind the wheel, I think that a TRULY useful feature would be a car that will automatically pull over and turn itself off if it detects that you're texting while driving. How 'bout it, Science?

What do you think? Do you want your car to manage in-car distractions for you or would you rather use your own judgement when it comes to whether to take that incoming call?

- Rose R.

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