Ford Takes Driver Safety to Heart with New Seat Prototype
Ford is integrating a plethora of safety technologies in many of its vehicles to help curtail the dangers of reckless driving (i.e., BLIS Cross-Traffic Alert, Active Park Assist and adaptive cruise control plus Collision Warning). Now, the American automaker is working on technologies to help prevent collisions caused by heart attacks.
Sure, you might think most accidents are caused by lack of focus and alcohol/drug use/abuse. But, the Impaired Motorists, Methods of Roadside Testing and Assessment for Licensing, indicates drivers with cardiovascular disease are, on average, 23 percent more likely to be involved in an automobile accident...And, that probability more than doubles among drivers diagnosed with angina. So, you can see, it's a little more significant than most of us probably think.
In collaboration with Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen University, engineers from Ford's European Research Centre in Aachen Germany are addressing the often overlooked traffic safety issue of heart attacks with a prototype seat that integrates electrocardiograph (ECG) technology. The Ford ECG seat, however, is a bit more advanced than a typical ECG machine you'd find employed in a doctor's office. With six different built-in sensors, it has the capability to detect irregular heart activity through shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc.
"The system will be able to detect if someone is having a cardiovascular issue, for example a heart attack, and could be used to detect the symptoms of other conditions such as high blood pressure or electrolyte imbalance," says Dr. Achim Lindner, Ford Research Centre medical officer. "This not only benefits the driver; but also could make the roads safer for all users."1
Thus far, the project has proved very successful. Ford indicates the seat prototype recorded accurate readings in 98 percent of the driving time for 95 percent of the drivers. They're continuing to work to further perfect the seat's functionality and are studying ways to integrate it with the company's other advanced safety technologies.
Stay tuned for more Ford news coming soon! Laird Noller Topeka - 2245 S. Topeka Blvd - and - 2946 S. Kansas Ave - Topeka, Kansas 66611, is dedicated to keeping you informed.