Ford Motor Co. plans to develop technologies to prevent accidents caused by sleepy drivers, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.

The Dearborn company already has launched a joint study with Swedish automaker Volvo and expects to announce results from the study in late spring, the Detroit Free Press reported Dec. 30.

New products are scheduled to debut in one or more Volvo vehicles late in the decade and then, possibly, on other Ford brands, according to AP.

Ford is using a simulator called VIRTTEX - or Virtual Test Track Experiment - for the study.

Falling asleep while driving causes at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities annually, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The administration says most of these crashes occur between midnight and 6 a.m., involve a single vehicle and a sober driver traveling alone and the car leaves the roadway without any attempt to avoid the crash.