Ford's new S-Max concept car includes a heart-rate monitor and the ability to track your blood sugar levels. Yes, really.
The concept has been unveiled in the lead up to the smorgasbord of cars and tech that will be the Frankfurt auto show early next month.
The S-Max is packed with plenty of other tech, too, including active safety features, car-to-car comms and a dual-view display.
But the health monitor kit, is it for real? Yep. The driver's seat gets an ECG or electrocardiogram that logs heart rates and patterns over the long term as well as picking up on any acute heart problems.
It can even call for medical help and trigger the active safety systems if the worst happens and it detects a heart attack. With demographics in the western world only going one way – we're getting older – the benefits are obvious enough.
As for the blood sugar or glucose monitor, that relies on external devices being connected to Ford's SYNC multimedia platform. The system can, for instance, warn a parent if a sleeping child is suffering a diabetic attack.
That's probably a bit more of a niche market and you could argue that the monitoring device doesn't necessarily need to be hooked up to SYNC to send out an audible alert. But it does give an interesting glimpse of the sort of additional features that in-car multimedia systems will be capable of in the future.
Just a concept. For now...
The S-Max is, of course, a concept car, albeit closely related to the upcoming new S-Max production model. There's no word from Ford as yet whether or when these health monitor features will make production.
As for the other techy features, the S-Max ticks several of the most zeitgeisty technologies of the moment.
So there's car-to-car comms, giving the S-Max the ability to 'talk' to other similarly equipped cars. That promises to be handy for safety, enabling cars to earn each other of hazards in the road ahead.
The Pre-Collision Assist system, meanwhile, can spot pedestrians in the carriageway and trigger emergency braking to prevent a nasty accident.
Then there's Active Park Assist, which does both parallel and perpendicular semi-autonomous parking. Finally, the dual-view display is capable of showing separate images to the driver and front-seat passenger. It's a technology already offered in several Jaguar-Land Rover products.
All-in-all, it's an impressive array of kit for what is a mainstream family, though again we stress this is just a concept. That said, we'd say everything bar the car-to-car comms and health monitoring kit is a dead cert for production. Cars just keep getting techier.
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