Coming Soon! Toyota Developing Cars That will Detect Heart Attacks
It is a well known fact that having a heart attack or any other medical emergency during driving can prove fatal, not only for the car’s occupants but also for any pedestrians nearby. This is because, “The medical event interferes with the driver’s ability to safely drive and operate the car, causing the accident,” said Najarian.
Also, according to Kayvan Najarian, from the University of Michigan in the US, “A large number of traffic incidents are caused by medical conditions while driving, specifically cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infraction and myocardial ischemia,”
Researchers at Toyota, one of the world largest car-making companies, hope to change that grim situation. They are working to develop cars that will predict heart attack. Imagine a driver who suddenly develops a heart attack while on the steering or while driving. The outcome of course would be deadly. Given this scenario, Toyota is working on making its automobiles more responsive and safer for those who suffer from heart-related ailments.
Toyota has reportedly been working on a steering wheel that comes with an electrocardiogram (ECG) built in. With ECG, a car will be able to tell if the driver is at the risk of having a heart attack or not.
The ECG sensors will be fitted inside the steering wheel. These sensors can continuously pick up the driver’s heart rate from the hands that hold the steering wheel. In essence, the system will be able to pick up signals of a potential heart attack or any other heart related issue and will both alert the driver and the car to slow down, ultimately preventing an accident.
“We looked at what conditions might have contributed to crashes from an emergency medical standpoint, and also looked at signals that may be measured through wearables,” says Chuck Gulash, director of Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center. Thus , Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center think it is quite necessary to invest in the technology and the scientific research needed to make that future happen through a $35-million and a five-year effort that will last until 2021.
According to reports, Toyota is not the first auto manufacturer to design such a prototype. Back in 2011, Ford showcased its prototype car seat that featured six embedded electrodes that were able to detect electrical impulses generated by the heart through the driver’s clothing. If in any case, the driver of the vehicle experiences any cardiovascular issue, the car will immediately brake and pull over to the side of the road.
Researchers from Toyota will continue to test and validate algorithmic and hardware options that could be placed inside the vehicle to monitor the driver’s heart. The team hopes to report results in 2020.
“When we analysed crash statistics already reported by different agencies, we found that drivers 65 years of age and older have a lot of medical-related issues that are related to vehicle crashes,” Najarian said.
“We can infer from that information that there could be a higher number of crashes in the future as the population is ageing,” he added.