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Ferrari patents video game-style smart helmet in US

Forza & Gran Turismo-style graphics and driving aids feature in Ferrari’s new smart helmet

17 Sep 2021

FERRARI could be about to revolutionise track days and motorsport with a new ‘smart helmet’ trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Originally uncovered by the Ferrari 296 Forum, the application details the device which could ultimately replace head-up displays or busy instrument clusters on high-end performance cars.


According to the application’s abstract, the helmet is a “method for the performance-enhancing driver assistance of a road vehicle… by means of an augmented reality interface”.


The diagrams accompanying the application reveal that drivers wearing the helmet would see various data projected in front of their eyes, showing such things as vehicle speed, engine speed, ambient temperature, suggested braking points and suggested racing lines as well as more eco-minded read-outs like fuel economy and even speed zones.


Explaining the helmet’s rationale, Ferrari said, “speed limits on roads open to traffic are much lower than the actual performances offered by a car, especially in the case of a high performance sportscar”.


“As a consequence, when normally driving on a road, only a small part of the actual capacities of a high performance sportscar is used.


“However for an inexperienced driver, high performance driving on a track can turn out to be very complicated, since it is completely different from everyday driving on roads open to traffic.


“In particular, an inexperienced driver can have a very hard time understanding the actual limits of the car and, as a consequence, there is, on one hand, the chance that the performances of the car are not completely exploited and, on the other hand, there is the risk of going off the road, which is potentially dangerous for both the integrity of the car and for the safety of the driver.”


What Ferrari is doing with this new ‘smart helmet’ is essentially bringing video game driver aids to the real world to help new or inexperienced track drivers to get the most out of their vehicle(s) without having the electronic safety systems – stability and traction control etc – switched on as they can reduce “the extent of which high performance riving can be enjoyed.”


The application was published on September 9, meaning it will likely be quite some time before it’s either accepted or rejected, let alone whether it yields a market-ready product.

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