Could this new Ford concept car reduce your road rage?

driver sleeping in Ford car seat
(Image credit: Ford)

Car maker Ford has released details of a “Mindfulness Concept Car” to tackle the stress of being on the road.

The car design, which is based on a Ford Kuga SUV, makes use of a variety of stress-reducing technologies that Ford hopes will “reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety” in its customers.

Those technologies include ambient lighting LEDs along the car’s skylight, and “tailored playlists” paired with a “B&O Beosonic equaliser” for soothing sights and sounds, as well as a ‘power nap’ setting that adjusts the driver’s seat to lie down flat like a bed (though we’d only recommend using this when you’re safely parked).

Other features include fresh air being circulated as you enter a vehicle, and “premium air filters and UV-C lighting to remove dust and bacteria” – a notable addition in a time where many of us are fearful of contagions.

A paired wearable, too, would “monitor the driver’s heart rate” to help keep track of your state on the dashboard, or even “synchronize” your heartbeat with the car’s lighting and vibrating actuators in the seat. You can see a video for the concept car below.

Analysis: The end of road rage?

A press release for the announcement states that “Experts believe that mindful driving can enhance awareness and reduce distraction, as well as increase empathy for other road users, making journeys safer and more enjoyable for all” – so there’s definitely a case being made for calmer drivers making traffic jams a bit less terrible for everyone, and possibly even reducing on-road accidents.

Cars can be incredibly stressful things, as anyone with a license can attest – so it’s unsurprising that a more mindful approach might help make it more of a pleasurable and calming activity. And we’re seeing many car makers start to see their models more as destinations in themselves, with Tesla vehicles even getting in-car gaming systems (again, when you’re parked please).

This mindfulness concept car likely isn’t landing anytime soon, for those of you jumping at the chance to buy a car that could reduce your cortisol levels – but we expect to see more features like these creep into Ford’s designs down the road.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.