Toyota could one day stop your car if you have a heart attack

Toyota has started researching technology that would allow its cars to detect if the driver is having a heart attack, and stop the vehicle to prevent a crash.

Obviously, having a heart attack is very serious business, and being behind the wheel of a car when one happens is not only dangerous for you, but also other users on the road.

Now Toyota is teaming up with the University of Michigan to develop technology that can detect when a user is going to have a cardiac issue.

Michigan Medicine researcher Kayvan Najarian said: “Essentially, they showed me that a large number of traffic incidents are caused by medical conditions while driving, specifically cardiovascular events… Toyota discussed how they wanted to move towards technology that can monitor and analyze the physiology of the person driving and predict if they are going to have adverse cardiac events.”

Getting worse with age

And if those statistics were alarming to Najarian now, they only stand to get worse with time: “When we analyzed crash statistics already reported by different agencies, we found that drivers 65 years of age and older have a lot of medical-related issues that are related to vehicle crashes.

“By 2030, there will be an increased number of older-age drivers, which could increase the number of medical events happening behind the wheel.”

At the moment the the team is trying to find a good way of getting accurate results in a small device, using a system that integrates algorithms that discount all of the other information like road noise and magnetic interference that you get in a car and wouldn’t have in a hospital bed. 

Of course, there is the possibility that by the time we get to 2030, self-driving cars will be so prevalent that this technology will no longer be necessary, but considering the study is expecting results in 2020, it may well be much sooner that we see this technology in our cars.

From University of Michigan, via Digital Trends