Toyota testing out car steering wheels that can detect heart attacks
The steering wheels will prevent fatal accidents by steering the car to safety when a heart attack is detected. The steering wheels will be fitted with electrocardiogram (ECG) devices that will detect the heartbeat of the driver through their palms.
Having a heart attack while driving is one of the most dangerous incidences on the road as it poses danger not only to the occupants of the car but to other parties outside the car. In a bid to increase the safety of its cars, Toyota is building its cars with the capability to help its drivers who suffer from any issues of the heart. To make this a possibility, the Japanese carmaker is reported to be working on cars with steering wheels that have electrocardiograms built into them.
This step will help in the prevention of accidents in many ways. Mainly, the ECG will be able to determine the heartbeat of the driver by reading it through the palms they have on the steering wheel. If the car identifies an anomaly in the heartbeat, it will warn the driver and even slow down the car.
The steering wheel with ECG sensors is still in its developmental stages as it requires a lot of curating to make it a reality. Besides the ECG sensors, the cars will require an autopilot feature too, for example, move the car to the side of the road after detecting the increased risk of a heart attack. Given that most new cars are coming with the autopilot feature to varying degrees, Toyota could be making the steering wheel a reality soon.
Toyota is not the only company working on preventing heart attacks in their drivers. Ford also worked on a similar plan but, rather than building the ECG sensors into the steering wheel, it built them in the steering wheel, Ford built the sensors into the seat. Although Ford never went ahead to build the seats in its cars, the plan laid down by Toyota is a more feasible one that may be rolled out soon.