Ford Motor Co. is examining ways to connect medical devices to its voice-activated Sync system so that the driver can avoid symptoms that are dangerous while driving.
Ford is studying how to add health monitoring features to its in-car communication system so that crashes related to asthma attacks, allergies, or diabetes complications may be prevented. Ford said that via this technology, diabetics will be able to monitor glucose levels on a dashboard screen or even on the audio system.
Ford said that the Sync system, which is available on almost all the models, is a vital factor in 50% of purchases.
Last January, Consumer Reports magazine said that the latest version, which has an 8-inch dashboard touch screen, is complicated and "frustrating." Drivers may be distracted by the Sync system, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In a statement, Gary Strumolo, Ford's manager of interiors, infotainment and health and wellness research, said that Ford doesn’t want to fulfill the role of a health-care or medical provider.
Rather, what Ford is trying to accomplish is to make a “secondary alert system and alternate outlet for real-time patient coaching."
In a survey by Harris Interactive and CTIA-The Wireless Association, it was determined that about 78% of U.S. consumers are interested in mobile health solutions. Ford said that there are over 17,000 health applications in Apple Inc.'s App store.