Toyota is researching heart-monitoring cars that could prevent crashes

toyota heart monitoring cars michigan medical
M Health Lab
As occasional news reports have shown, having a heart attack or some other medical emergency while driving can prove devastating both for those in the affected vehicle and for anyone nearby when it happens.

With that in mind, Toyota is looking at the idea of incorporating technology into its cars that can predict such an event and bring the vehicle to a quick and safe stop.

Of course, with self-driving cars expected one day to rule the road, there would be no need for such technology. But with the widespread use of autonomous vehicles still a ways off, Toyota’s plans could prove an effective interim safety measure to prevent injuries (and potentially worse).

To develop a system, Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been working with Kayvan Najarian, director of data science at the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care.

Najarian told Michigan Medicine that as healthcare facilities continue to improve, “there will be an increased number of older-age drivers, which could increase the number of medical events happening behind the wheel.”

The joint team noted that the solution involves embedding an algorithm-powered system inside the car that can monitor and predict an adverse cardiac event.

One of the central challenges is to create an effective algorithm capable of making accurate predictions regarding cardiac events. After all, any stops made in error would not only be an annoying inconvenience for the driver but also a highly stressful experience, with the person behind the wheel worrying they’re about to have a heart attack when in fact they’re perfectly fine.

Accurate monitoring is also dependent upon how the technology is incorporated into the vehicle. Discussing the issue, Toyota’s Pujitha Gunaratne said, “A challenge for vehicle applications is having a system that can detect small changes in heart rhythms but can also separate out the noise and motion that happens inside the vehicle.”

He added, “In an ICU, there are all types of mechanisms in place to ensure that the monitors are not experiencing electronic interference. That’s not as easy inside a vehicle.”

At the current time, the team is exploring hardware options for in-car sensors and monitors, which could be built into car components such as seat belts and steering wheels. It’s also collecting physiological data for its algorithm using officially approved heart monitors.

Although such medical emergencies are extremely rare considering the number of miles people travel in their vehicles, such a system could prove effective in preventing further injuries and fatalities should the driver lose control of the vehicle. It’s usefulness could be further enhanced if the system automatically sent a signal to the nearest hospital so that first responders could reach the driver to offer medical assistance.

Cars

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.
Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.
Cars

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.
Cars

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.