New cars may be able to monitor drivers' health

Every now and again we hear a statistic concerning how much time each person spends driving their car throughout their lifetime, and while some may not be totally based on fact (and are a sweeping generalisation!), there is no denying that people are now using their cars more often. The fact that there are so many people on the road also means that many people are now experiencing more traffic on the road, which is why car manufacturers are always looking for ways to make the driving experience more pleasurable for their customers.

For example, many companies are currently looking at ways to integrate smart phones with vehicles so that users can gain all the information they need without taking their hands off the wheel, and due to the increase in popularity of applications which monitor’s the user’s health these too are starting to be integrated with cars. Ford has recently revealed its SYNC voice-activated technology that allows users to see their various apps on the dashboard and then control them using their voice, and early last year the first health application that integrates with this technology was released.

At the moment, the applications can alert users about high pollen counts, air-pollution and asthma risks, which many could find beneficial in the future. Discussing the apps, Ford’s general manager for interiors, infotainment, health and wellness, Gary Strumolo, said: “There are 26 million asthma sufferers in the US. Wouldn’t it be great for them to know what pollution levels will be and take the appropriate meds? All we are doing is allowing drivers to activate these devices verbally. We don’t want them digging around in their coat pockets when they have an [asthma] alert.”

Howevere, Strumolo went on to say that these apps will not be issuing medical advice to drivers, and that Ford “does not want to turn the car into a medical advice.” There are also other things that Ford need to consider before these types of apps become available for all of their customers, such as whether car insurance providers will feel that they distract drivers while on the road, and whether these applications could alert driving bodies such as the DVLA if they find a driver has a medical condition that disqualifies them from driving. While there are definitely some legitimate concerns when it comes to these types of applications, there is also the chance that if implemented correctly they could help drivers both on and off the road.

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