Wearable technology—think Fitbit, Apple Watch, and the like—has become a staple for many of us. The technology allows users to keep tabs on their overall health and encourage more active lifestyles. However, Ford thinks the same kind of technology used in wearables can be implemented in future vehicles.
Fortune reports Ford CEO Mark Fields has approached Flex, the maker of wearable fitness trackers for Fitbit and diabetes monitoring systems for Johnson & Johnson, to begin researching ways to embed biometric sensors into cars. Flex and Ford have already worked together on sensors for the automaker's driverless car program, but Fields believes biometric sensors could help keep vehicle occupants safer behind the wheel in the near term.
"The reason he was interested in medical is because he recognizes that there are 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 asleep at the wheel or not," Flex chief marketing officer, Michael Mendenhall, said. "And the car would actually respond."
The biometric sensors could be one way to reduce traffic fatalities before driverless cars are perfected. As has been stated many times, one main goal of autonomous cars is to be crash free on public roads.
Ford is also reportedly looking into installing CO2 sensors in vehicles. Their purpose would be to detect children or pets left in a vehicle while the car is locked. The sensors could notify drivers of a life-threatening situation before it's too late. Or, you could simply not leave your children and pets in a locked car at all.
Ford has already implemented a new active safety feature to keep drivers and pedestrians safer. Ford's latest Pedestrian Detection system now works at night and can automatically bring the car to a controlled stop if a driver doesn't recognize a pedestrian in front of the vehicle.