Employee Benefits

Technology That Evaluates Drivers’ Health

hands-free gadgets

Americans, on average, spend 45 minutes each day driving in their cars. Double that amount for people living in metropolitan cities. Since drivers are stuck in one place for an extended period, manufactures have developed a range of hands-free gadgets to keep them entertained, such as Bluetooth devices to catch up with family and friends, or listen to podcasts, news and music. Now another new trend is emerging:  setting up the interior of your vehicle to monitor your health.

Review four key ideas as featured in Forbes:

  1. More than a vehicle – With the development of the self-driving car by Google and Tesla, engineers are rethinking the purpose of the vehicles Americans drive. They are not just a transportation method, but a sophisticated platform to support drivers. For example, cellphones once were considered just a convenient device to connect with other people. However, with Apple’s creation of the App Store, the phone took on a new platform as an entertainment device.
  2. Smartphone applications – The popularity of smartphone apps caused engineers to work on applications for vehicles that wouldn’t distract drivers and cause safety issues. One example is the development of SiriusXM, which requires drivers to opt-in to use the software.
  3. Health and wellness apps – Given the amount of time people spend in their vehicles, engineers are working with medical experts to help drivers monitor their health and reduce stress. Instead of getting upset with rude drivers, apps could help soothe drivers. For example, Ford is developing sensors inside the car to detect whether a driver is experiencing a health problem (such as heart attack or seizure) and avert a crash.
  4. Medical evaluations – Automotive manufacturers are exploring ways to insert sensors inside vehicles to capture drivers’ health statistics, such as blood pressure, temperature, asthma, allergies or blood glucose level. These sensors would give drivers a daily overview, or mini checkup, of their health. The information could be stored and a report generated showing changes throughout the week or month. Doctors could analyze the report to detect signs of emerging health problems.