Ford Considers In-Car Health Monitoring App

Posted: May 23, 2011

Cars can monitor tire pressure, track weather and traffic conditions and connect to the internet, and they keep getting smarter. Ford wants to take its cars monitoring systems to the next level. Last week, Ford announced that it will team up with health companies to create applications that would monitor medical issues like diabetes, asthma and hypoglycemia through its SYNC infotainment system. At a press conference in Michigan, Gary Strumolo, Ford manager of vehicle design and infotronics, said Ford plans to introduce health applications into its cars in the next one to two years, according to the Detroit Free Press. SYNC is available in most of Ford’s 2011 models, including the Ford Focus, the Ford F-150 and the Lincoln MKX.

The automaker is particularly considering a pollen-monitoring app for those with allergies and a blood glucose monitoring app for drivers who have diabetes. “Ford and its partners, Medtronic, SDI Health, and WellDoc, believe they can keep passengers connected to doctors and monitoring services by using SYNC and existing health industry technologies and data analysis,” writes Car and Driver. “The rapid proliferation of wireless tech and micro sensors has resulted in such conveniences as implanted blood-glucose monitors that can pair with Bluetooth-enabled devices to transfer blood sugar data to a cloud computer in real time.”

According to Kicking Tires, the Allergy App may be the first program offered. Ford said in a press release that it will partner with and SDI Heath to provide real-time alerts about pollen levels, similar to the way it delivers traffic and weather information. In the future, Ford customers may be able to monitor conditions like their heart rate or stress levels while on the go. However, USA Today wonders if these alerts will be helpful or distracting for drivers. “If you have a device that already monitors medical issues, it raises the question of whether it would mean much more to have the alerts popping up while you drive.” But it might not be all bad. “This all could be kind of fun, being able to watch your blood pressure rise when you hit a traffic jam on Interstate 5,”  they write.

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