New cars are like giant, digital playgrounds. They sync with your smartphone, they read you your tweets, and they tell you which lane to get in after the traffic lights.
But with all these new toys at your fingertips while you're supposed to be – ahem – driving a car, preventing driver distraction is the next major hurdle for car manufacturers to overcome.
Ford is aiming to tackle this problem in its Ford SYNC infotainment system by combining live telematics data from your car with real-time biometric information about you to decide when it's safe to tell you about what @dangrabham had for dinner and when it's better to just keep schtum.
Everything you need to know about Ford infotainment
"We want to take information about what's going on in the cabin - what the driver is doing - information about the vehicle response, about the environment, and we want to combine all of that into a mathematical model that says 'This is how we think the average person is going to be in this situation,'" Ford Senior Technical Leader, Jeff Greenberg told Gizmag. "And then, looking even a little bit farther out, we'd like to personalise that - not just how the average person would respond, but how you would respond."
It's pretty complicated when you think about it. Ford is talking about combining up-to-date information about the weather you're driving through, the speed you're travelling at, the traffic you're experiencing and so on, with the time of day, your heart rate, how much you're sweating, stress levels, body temperature and more.
The aim is to produce an algorithm that calculates when a driver should be left to get on with driving and when it's safe to interrupt. An easy one would be waiting until you're stopped at traffic lights to read that tweet from your sister about forgetting your dad's birthday. Oops.