The incredible Ford Focus RS ‘Buzz Car’ monitors driver emotions and displays them in real time on the outside of the car – visualising the drivers continuous biometric state and the scientifically derived ‘buzz moment’. Following a study commissioned by Ford, and as part of their Driver-State research into healthier and safer driving, buzz moments are defined as “peak moments of emotional activity” that “play a vital role in our overall wellness”. 

Ford approached Designworks to create a unique concept car. Using their highly acclaimed Focus RS as the basis for the build we transformed it into a vehicle capable of monitoring and visualising driver emotions on bespoke display panels fitted around the car.

To achieve this, we developed a display and visualisation system capable of translating raw biometric data (from sensors worn by the driver) into vibrant and dazzling real-time animations, displayed across almost 200,000 individually addressable LEDs.  AI software, a high-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC and a 4G network were used to access data from a cloud-based API once every second – creating stunning visualisations.

The project revealed that drivers of Ford Performance cars experience an average of 2.1 buzz moments during a typical daily commute – almost as many as a rollercoaster ride!  In overcoming the unique technical challenges of this ambitious project, Designworks and its partners have created a truly unique vehicle, and scientific tool, that will further help researchers understand the relationship between driver and machine.