*Updated June 2022
Today’s modern truck has the ability to collect and transmit information on many facets of its operation -- including your driving performance and any impending equipment breakdowns. And, with today’s technology advancing in leaps and bounds, the truck of the future will be able to do the same thing with you: read your vital signs and alert you and others to any impending health breakdowns. This is the future of driver health monitoring.In other words, technology may transform the truck into an automated medical clinic. Three of your vehicle’s components – the seats, steering wheels, and gear-shift levers – can be potentially customized to monitor and diagnose major diseases and serious health events.
Smart Seat Technology
Sensitive monitoring devices can be installed into your seat to continuously assess your heart health, weight, temperature, blood pressure, and even your posture.
Heart Attack Prevention
Some truck manufacturers are creating and testing seats with electronic cardiogram sensors that can detect your heart’s electrical impulses and potentially predict a heart attack. In such a case, the driver would receive instructions to pull over and paramedics would be called on scene if needed.
Mood and Focus
Global automotive supplier Faurecia has an Active Wellness system in the works, which uses seat sensors to indicate if a driver experiences a drop in energy levels or is under physical or mental stress. The company is currently working with NASA and the Spine Research Institute at Ohio State University to develop different ways to collect a driver’s heart rate, respiration, and breathing patterns. This data can be synchronized with wearable technology to offer solutions such as massages and warm or cool air in the cab to calm or energize.
Steering Wheel and Gearshift Sensors
Sweat, electrical conductivity of the skin, and hand pressure on components built into the steering wheel and gearshift can provide biometric measures to help assess driver alertness and health around the clock.
These developments in bio-monitoring and telematics can be be seen as intrusive -- however, they do present some great advantages. For example, drivers can stay in closer touch with medical specialists who can enable them to better manage health conditions that, if neglected for too long, could easily sideline drivers for months, if not permanently.
What are your thoughts about the future of driver health monitoring? Comment below.
For more information about truck driver health and wellness be sure to check out this blog post: Truck Driver Ergonomics: Best Practices and Tips