Plessey Looking to Prevent Car Accidents by Building ECG in Car Seats

You know that modern cars don’t just drive you around; they also monitor weather conditions, traffic alerts, and pedestrian activity.Cars Plessey, the manufacturer of semiconductor products are looking to build a detector that can monitor your heart rate. According to the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, drowsy driving causes nearly 20 percent of all accidents. Mercedes and Volvo cars, when equipped, can monitor whether the vehicle stays within the lane by using cameras to read road lines. When a vehicle travels outside the lines a given number of times without the driver using the indicator, the vehicle will suggest the driver pull over, rest, and have a cup of coffee. Plessey however is thinking along different lines, the semiconductor company has created a way to measure electrocardiograms (ECG) with its EPIC semiconductor technology. epic-automotive-img1This is how it works, six sensors will be built into the seatback to monitor Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and heartbeat stability, which is a keen indicator of whether a person is falling asleep. Before this technological breakthrough, it was only possible to monitor EGC with sensors attached with gel to a person’s bare chest. The sensors are deliberately mounted low in the seatback and underneath the seat covering material to avoid movement noise. Plessey is currently offering evaluation kits to auto manufacturers and in-car vehicle technology suppliers. The kit includes “an interface box with a USB output to the display and recording software.” There’s little doubt that if the technology can be cheaply applied to future vehicles, automakers will jump at the chance to offer these in-seat ECG monitors. After all, Volvo has aimed to achieve no injuries or fatalities in a Volvo cars by 2020, and this kind of technological leap could help Volvo achieve its goals.

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