Ford is no longer the sole automotive company looking into mHealth technology. On July 21, 2011, Toyota presented plans for a vehicle that could detect electrocardiography (ECG) in order to monitor a driver’s heart rate.
Unlike Ford’s hands-free design, Toyota’s ECG technology would be based on driver contact with the steering wheel, where the sensors are located.
After the driver has activated these direct-contact sensors by maintaining hand contact with the wheel, any abnormal information is recorded via a single-lead ECG signal. This information is then transmitted to a display that alerts the driver to any symptoms that might require medical attention.
In addition to indicating immediate health issues, Toyota intends for this new technology to serve as a daily checkup for drivers, which would alert them to any irregularities that might pose serious health problems in the future.
Heart monitoring technology is one of the many developments that Toyota is utilizing to expand driver safety outside of the typical airbag or skid control technologies present in today’s vehicles. Therefore, by implementing plans for including mHealth technologies within vehicles, both Ford and Toyota are taking steps toward creating a product that is responsive to consumer needs and safety concerns.