Toyota is exploring heart rate monitoring cars to help prevent accidents

But the technology won't be hitting the roads any time soon
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Aiming to curb car accidents caused by a medical emergency, Toyota is exploring the possibility of implementing heart rate monitoring into its cars in the future.

The Japanese car giant recently collaborated with the University of Michigan to investigate the concept, with a potential system able to recognise and warn drivers of an impending cardiac issue in real time.

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"The study took about seven months, and we identified the challenges, potential solutions, hardware options and algorithmic approaches that could be potentially used," said Kayvan Najarian, Michigan Medical researcher leading the investigation.

With the research now concluding, these challenges will now be tackled in the hope the technology can one day makes its way to the production line.

The key obstacle to overcome, of course, is choosing a system that works for the driver. This could require integration with an optical, wrist-based sensor like the ones in fitness trackers and smartwatches, or an ECG-style device like a chest strap. Alternatively, bypassing the wearable field altogether and embedding sensors into a steering wheel or seat belt, for example, could be an option.

But with heart rate monitoring not completely accurate, there's also a considerable amount of risk involved. Developing software that can handle the data and provide the right course of action if a suspect heart condition is identified is paramount. This is something the research team plans to work on for the next two to three years.

After all, alerting a driver could create a panicked reaction, while technology currently isn't in place for the car to take over controls. The team hopes to report on the next set of results by 2020, though this will no doubt factor in the stream of self-driving Toyota cars set to hit the roads the same year.

By then, maybe we'll all be privy to accurate HRM from the wrist, too.

Source: News Atlas

Toyota is exploring heart rate monitoring cars to help prevent accidents

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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