Specifically, Ford's European Research Centre in Aachen Germany is teaming with Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen University to develop a prototype seat that integrates electrocardiograph (ECG) technology. In its present form, the potentially life-saving seat features six different built-in sensors that can detect irregular heart activity through shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc.
If you're doubting whether all this is worth Ford's time and efforts. Consider for a moment that according to the Impaired Motorists, Methods of Roadside Testing and Assessment for Licensing, drivers with cardiovascular disease are, on average, 23 percent more likely to be involved in a road accident. For drivers diagnosed with angina, that rate jumps to over 46 percent!
"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
Initial testing shows the seat prototype is already operating at close to 100 percent capacity. Ford reveals it recorded accurate readings 98 percent of the driving time, for 95 percent of drivers. While the American automaker continues to work to improve the seat's accuracy, they're also busy studying how it can work integrated with their other advanced safety technologies.
Unfortunately, Veterans Ford doesn't yet have an exact ETA of when this ECG car seat prototype will go to production. Stay tuned to find out. Veterans Ford, located at 3724 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Metairie, LA, 70002, promises to keep you current.