Ford recently announced some new partnerships for its in-vehicle health monitoring initiative and unveiled a new catch phrase: "The car that cares." The automaker showed a mock-up of a dashboard equipped with the Microsoft-powered Sync "infotainment" system connected to health-related smartphone apps and wireless, portable medical devices.
"Sync will be Ford's key technology supporting activities in the health and wellness sphere," Gary Strumolo, manager of infotainment, interiors, health, and wellness in the Ford Research and Innovation division, said during a presentation at the Digital Health Summit. Strumolo noted that many people spend hours at a time behind the wheel, making their cars a convenient and private environment for delivery of health and wellness coaching. "It's the only logical place for people to manage their health while on the go," he said.
During his presentation, Strumolo showed one photo of a prototype car seat with built-in heart rate monitoring, now being tested at a Ford research lab in Aachen, Germany. Data from the seat could, for example, create what Strumolo called a "driver workload estimate" to measure stressors that could affect safety. He said that Sync could automatically route phone calls to voice mail when stress exceeds a predetermined threshold.