General Motors Aims To Check Road Rage

General Motors has filed for patents for a system that aims to counter road rage by taking control of the car.

The 10-page patent filing was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in November 2022 but was published on May 16. 

"Dubbed ‘Vehicle Occupant Mental Wellbeing and Countermeasure Deployment’ the system focuses on a series of sensors and modules that analyze and evaluate what’s happening in a car equipped with the system,” according to Headlight News. “While the patent filing itself doesn’t explicitly say the system is designed to counter road rage, there are plenty of subtle hints in the patent itself suggesting this is indeed the case with GM saying the system aims to prevent ‘an undesirable situation’ behind the wheel with the system in place. 



If the system detects that the driver’s mental wellbeing is below a desired level, it can deploy various countermeasures.

“These might include adjusting the vehicle’s speed, providing alerts, or even suggesting a break,” according to GM Authority. “The system can also send notifications to the driver’s mobile device to encourage actions that improve their mental state. The system also describes how the ADAS can fully take over certain driving functions if the driver’s condition warrants such an action. The level of countermeasures deployed is directly related to driver’s level of mental wellbeing, as measured by onboard modules.”

While the patent doesn’t use the words “road rage,” the behavior described seems to be similar.  

“So if you're swerving, tailgating, and cussing up a storm, the system may decide your mental state isn't the best for driving and implement numerous steps to correct the situation,” according to Motor1. “It starts with a simple alert, recommending an ‘exercise’ like taking a deep breath. The next level recommends calling someone (using the vehicle's hands-free system of course) but the third level automatically calls a trained advisor to talk you down, like it or not.”

As with all patents, there's no guarantee that this idea will ever reach production. 

"Driver alerts and phone calls are certainly doable, but larger questions about the forced activation of driver-assist systems could be an issue,” according to Motor1. “ In any case, keep your cool out there. Otherwise, your future vehicle could put you in time-out until you regain your senses.”

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