Certain things in life give us a buzz. Some get a kick from watching a good TV show, others from watching their favorite sport. But research from Ford suggests that whatever you enjoy most, it’s almost certainly not as much fun as driving one of its cars.
Ford worked with neuroscientists to measure “buzz moments” during certain activities. Sensors recorded how volunteers felt in situations like watching an episode of Game of Thrones, or enjoying some salsa dancing. Involuntary responses, like heart rate rises or increased perspiration, revealed when the volunteers were most excited.
The researchers then compared this data to how the group felt when let loose in a Ford Focus ST, Focus RS or Mustang model on a test track. The analysis showed that the driving experience was the second most exhilarating of all, just behind riding a rollercoaster. The Ford scored 2.1 “buzz moments”, while the rollercoaster hit 3.0. Game of Thrones rated a 1.5, behind a shopping trip at 1.7. Getting to first base scored zero…
But why? Well, Ford is investigating how driving could be linked to wellbeing. Future in-car systems may be capable of detecting a driver’s emotions, helping to manage your levels of stress, distraction and fatigue.
Ford even created a “Buzz Car” for the project — a Ford Focus RS capable of detecting a driver’s emotional response. The system detects how a driver is feeling, and creates light patterns from nearly 200,000 LEDs to display their moods.
Dr Harry Witchel, discipline leader in physiology at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, commented:
“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day. This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.”
Nevertheless, we think Ford should probably have brought in some better kissers.