Ford researchers have been working with healthcare experts to develop an addition to their SYNC telematics system, and consumers are likely to find this either encouraging or terrifying, likely to to privacy concerns.
The application is aimed at drivers with a chronic illness or medical condition that requires monitoring (such as diabetes or asthma). Ultimately, it could monitor a driver’s glucose level, or report on conditions such as local pollen count or smog alerts. It could even link to cloud-based personal health profiles to provide real-time health monitoring and coaching.
Ford is clear about their role in developing such technology. Per Gary Strumolo, Ford’s global manager for Interiors, Infotainment, Health & Wellness Research, Ford Research & Innovation, “Ford’s approach to health and wellness in the vehicle is not about trying to take on the role of a healthcare or medical provider, we’re a car company. Our goal is not to interpret the data offered by the experts, but to work with them to develop intelligent ways for Ford vehicles using the power of SYNC. In essence, creating a secondary alert system and alternate outlet for real-time patient coaching services if you will.”
Ford’s projects relating to health and wellness tied to SYNC currently include glucose monitoring (in partnership with medical device manufacturer Medtronic) for diabetics, allergy alerts via SDI Health and www.pollen.com, and WellDoc cloud-based health solutions for those with asthma and diabetes. The projects are still in the research phase, but some (like Allergy Alerts) could be implemented quickly if there proves to be consumer demand. Longer term, Ford is looking at other health-improving technologies, such as finding ways to reduce stress behind the wheel, and that's something we could all benefit from.