The Biometric Car is a Safer Car
They are in their infancy today, for instance, DUI drivers must blow into a device hooked up the car to determine alcohol content of one's breath, if too high, the car will not start. New Mercedes cars have a sensor in the steering that detects when a driver is drowsy and alarms the driver with loud beeps or other things.
More advanced biometric cars are only another 3 to 7 years away. Currently being tested are several items that takes the pulse of the driver:
- Wireless sensors embedded in the headrest to measure the driver's brain activity
- Conductive pads that measure heart rate changes and palm temperatures
- Infrared sensors that monitor facial temps
- Camera mounted on the steering column tracks the driver's face for inattentiveness
- Electrodes embedded in the seat that measures your heart beat
- A smartphone app that connects via Bluetooth to warn the driver if their sugar level drops to unsafe levels to prevent loss of consciousness
- A device embedded in the seat belt that monitors the breathing rate to detect signs of stress
- Detection of the overall stress of the driver that will block off any cellphone use
The purpose of all this driver monitoring is to allow the car computer to modify the car's behavior. To make it safer, to take control before an accident could occur. For instance, if the car's sensors tell its computer that the biometrics of the driver indicate a danger, it could apply brakes to reduce speed, turn on the radio to keep the driver awake, block cellphone use, cutting fuel off to slow down.
But, what happens when there is a malfunction of the sensors? Well, we already know-chaos. Cars have had many sensors since the 90's, to monitor and indicate failure. Many times, a sensor may go out that you are unaware of or cannot locate. Will a failed sensor make the car act differently, it can, for sure. Over the life of the car, 20 years, it will happen. What happens if the car is impaired and the sensor cannot be found?
I don't think cars need more sensors. Drivers just need more common sense.