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A recent study has revealed that driving a sports car is one of the ways that those feeling the January blues can perk themselves up. Among a host of high-octane activities, driving a sports car was said to give people access to essential “buzz moments”.
The study, which measured “buzz moments” to find out which thrills play a vital role in our overall wellbeing, found that driving a sports car on a daily basis was one of the best ways to boost self-esteem and keep people feeling emotionally fulfilled.
Volunteers were encouraged to rate key buzz moments such as cheering on a favourite football team, watch a gripping TV series, enjoying a passionate kiss with a loved one or partaking in an intense salsa dance, but only the occasional highs of a rollercoaster ranked higher than the daily buss a commute in a sports car could evoke.
As part of the experiment, Ford worked with neuroscientists and designers to bring the research to life using a unique Ford Performance Buzz Car – a customised Ford Focus RS which incorporated wearable and artificial intelligence to animate a driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior.
From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Features of the car included a high-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC, 110 x 500 lumen daylight-bright light strips and 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDS.
Study participants who sat behind the wheel of the Ford Focus RS experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of only 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss.
“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “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.”
“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” added Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”