As vehicles become smarter, more connected and more sensor-laden they could just as easily help you stay healthy as help you get to your destination without an accident.
"There is a close correlation between safety and well-being: a person who feels safe feels better; and a person who feels well drives more safely," said Anke Kleinschmit, Head of Group Research at Daimler.
Therefore, Mercedes-Benz is examining ways of harnessing the next wave of autonomous car technology in order to improve driver and passenger well-being under the conceptual banner of "Fit & Healthy," a project the firm is undertaking with help from healthcare technology company Philips.
Sensors in a car or in occupants' wearables can track their vitals and compare that information with what's happening around the vehicle. If for example dense traffic or severe weather are causing passengers unease, the car's interior can take steps to make the journey feel more relaxing – even if that means changing the route to a longer but less vehicle-dense route. Or, identifying somewhere to stop for a rest.
"We can assist our customers by enabling them to enjoy their freedom, such as the time they spend in their car, to the maximum and to harness their own potential," said Dr Goetz Renner, Project Manager "Fit & Healthy."
Many of these ideas can be put into practice in current generation vehicles but as cars become more autonomous, the possibilities on board will become greater. And so will the potential to continue helping owners and their families when away from the car.
Depending on how much data customers are willing to offer, Mercedes can offer tailored recommendations regarding stress reduction, fitness and health – even if it's something as simple as a breathing exercise.
"Our vision is that Mercedes-Benz drivers should arrive at their destination feeling better and fitter than when they got into the vehicle. We focus on our customers' well-being. We want to give them the kind of assistance they are entitled to expect from Mercedes-Benz," said Ola Källenius, Daimler's head of Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. — AFP Relaxnews
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