Asleep at the wheel? Ford engineers dozing off in ‘soothing’ self-driving cars

There are different estimates for how long it will take a human driver to react to a self-driving car’s request for manual intervention.

However, there may be a bigger problem on the horizon – waking up the human driver first.

According to Bloomberg, carmaker Ford has discovered a problem during its test drives: its engineers are dozing off while monitoring the robot rides.

“Company researchers have tried to roust the engineers with bells, buzzers, warning lights, vibrating seats and shaking steering wheels,” reports Bloomberg.

But the smooth ride is proving too relaxing, with engineers struggling to maintain “situational awareness”, said Ford’s product development chief Raj Nair in an interview.

As a result, says Bloomberg, Ford plans to skip the semi-autonomous approach and take the human out of the loop completely in its driverless cars, removing elements such as the steering wheel and pedals.