When I first heard that Ford and other auto manufacturers were researching how to build health monitoring devices and interfaces into cars, my thoughts immediately turned to how my good ole boy mechanic would fix the darned thing.
"Well, Jim, yer valves are gonna need a good cleanin.' I can turn them brake rotors one more time but that there glucose monitor, that's a fac'try part and be about next Tuesday before I can get that in."
I have a well-earned distrust of gadgets and have learned that the best-engineered machines excel at the task for which they are designed reliably and simply. So a car that needs few repairs, is comfortable, gets good mileage, and lasts longer than the payments do is fine by me. But Ford sees a larger opportunity to add the car to those places where you are concerned about your health, specifically in monitoring it.
So Ford is developing "the car that cares," by linking health into the vehicle in three different ways, explains Gary Strumolo, manager of Infotainment, Interiors, and Health and Wellness at Ford Research and Innovation.
"The reality is that most people go their entire lives without suffering a serious auto accident, but if they suffer chronic illness, they suffer from that every day of their lives," Strumolo says. "So if we really want to extend this notion of automotive safety, we need to address those very real concerns. We thought we could do that by leveraging the connectivity capabilities that the SYNC platform provides us with devices that we bring into the car, build into the car, or are beamed into the vehicle."