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.