As technology in cars gets smarter and more advanced a range of cars on the market and in concept are now offering unique features to monitor your health and prevent you from getting into accidents.
Concept cars such as the Ford S-Max monitor levels of heart rate and blood sugar levels which can help the car decide whether you’re even fit to drive, and car designers are also working on technologies which can detect whether you’ve taken medication, your stress levels and even drive you to the hospital or doctor if you fall ill.
This isn’t the first time a car manufacturer has installed features which can improve passenger and driver safety. In 2003, Lexus announced the Pre Collision System which determines a driver’s alertness and 10 years on the 2013 LS model has been fitted with an enhanced version which can even detect when your eyes are open, stopping the car if you fail to pay attention.
Other models of car such as the Infiniti Q50 monitor whether you’re staying in your lane on the motorway, and also automatically apply the brakes if it senses something wrong. The Infiniti JX35 also employs a clever technology: it stops you from reversing if it senses an obstruction behind the vehicle.
The future of car technology
Currently, the technology in new cars is focused on preventing accidents that are a result of common occurrences such as drivers falling asleep or not paying attention. However, future technology in cars is focused on preventing accidents before they even occur by monitoring the health of the driver.
Thilo Koslowski, vice president at Gartner predicts that in the future cars will automatically drive you to the hospital if they think there is something wrong with the driver or a passenger: “The car might suggest that the driver pulls over and takes a break or notify family members that the driver’s health isn’t where it should be.”
How much is too much?
However there are still some bumps that need to be ironed out. If a car is built to recognise whether you’ve passed out or not, there’s potential for false triggers such as reaching over into the passenger seat, which could annoy the driver if it’s prone to being set off all the time.
There’s also the question of what drivers feel is too intrusive. In 2007 Nissan developed a concept car which can tell if the driver is drunk via a sensor in the gear stick, stopping them from operating the vehicle until they sobered up.
This sparked a debate over whether a car should intervene if you’re about to commit a crime. In future this could even be taken a step further and the car could call the police on you – something that sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie!
However, as the technology for driverless cars comes closer to being allowed on the road, the focus may switch to improving automated technology rather than improving manual driving.
Whatever the case, the technology is available – it’s just a matter of deciding whether society could accept this or not. After all, you car could save your life if it decides to drive you to hospital rather than letting you get into an accident.