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Autonomous cars are the future, but before they’re fully integrated into mass produced vehicles, Ford wants to track a driver’s vital signs with biometric sensors.

According to Fortune, the automaker is collaborating with Flex in an effort to integrate the sensors into their vehicles. For those who are unaware, Flex is the company that makes biometric sensors for a wide variety of products, everything from Fitbit to diabetes monitors for Johnson & Johnson uses their sensors.

Flex Chief Marketing Officer Michael Mendenhall said Mark Fields (Ford CEO) “was interested in medical is because he recognizes that there's biometric sensors that can actually go into a car, and those sensors can read a person’s biological makeup and understand whether the person is falling sleep at the wheel or not."

Some may think this could be an invasion of privacy, but there are real world applications for this technology. Aside from monitoring your level of wakefulness, the sensors will also be able to detect medical emergencies like a seizure or a heart attack. If you pair that with some kind of semi-autonomous system, then the car will be able to respond by braking and pulling over to the side.

Of course this is still in development and it’ll be a while yet until we see biometric sensors in vehicles like the Ford EcoSport.
 

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I can't see this being an affordable feature to implement into their vehicles, but it would be a useful addition for those with a medical history. Maybe have it subsidized by their insurance company, but for the average healthy drier it seems pretty useless.
 

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This definitely seems very useless and should really be left for a specialty option if you have medical conditions that prove this could be helpful. I do remember seeing videos of people getting seizures or heart attacks while driving (horrific) BUT it is not something that commonly happens enough to make it part of a package that you'll have to pay a crap ton for.
 

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I heard another brand was going to add some kind of sensor to detect if steering/gas input has been lacking for a certain a mount of time. Then determine if someone passed out before maneuvering itself to the side and this is using already existing hardware. Seems like a way better option IMO.
 

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OnStar is standard on all Ford Products so odds are they will build in a cue for initiating a call for help once detecting someone in distress. Glad to see car makers are applying this stuff now since smartphones had versions of it for years.
 

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The best use for these sensors and precautions are when people go on road trips. Driving down the same road, especially at night can make you sleepy. If it can sense your heart rate dropping from slowly dozing off and then a vibrating wheel, it could prevent a lot of accidents every year.
 

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@Econobox, see if it utilizes already existing software and can be implemented over a software update, then great, because it really won't cost them much at the end of the day, which in turn means that they won't charge us for it. That is something I can live with and wouldn't mind having.

OnStar has been like that for a long time though, in the event of impact, OnStar chimes in and starts sending help to your location.
 

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I heard another brand was going to add some kind of sensor to detect if steering/gas input has been lacking for a certain a mount of time. Then determine if someone passed out before maneuvering itself to the side and this is using already existing hardware. Seems like a way better option IMO.
I think that may have been VW/Audi that was thinking about doing that. Not 100% sure though. It does seem like a much better option though and it's safe. Tesla does that when in autonomous mode where if it doesn't get a steering wheel input for a certain amount of time, it'll slowly come to a stop.
 
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