Cars as the central health hub.
- 6. January 2017
- Photos: Daimler
- Text: Steffan Heuer
Healthy driving: Connected health, whether it’s on your wrist or on your dashboard, is thriving, as this year’s CES show in Las Vegas demonstrates.
Imagine a vehicle that knows whether you’re stressed and nudges you to take a breath before the next scheduled appointment. Because it can read your pulse and see your upcoming schedule. A vehicle that can adjust ambient lighting, sounds and even scents to soothe the driver and passengers. A vehicle that becomes a key component of an active yet balanced lifestyle, working in unison with smart devices in the home and with wearables to generate a more holistic picture of one’s vital data.
Connected health, whether it’s on your wrist or on your dashboard, is thriving, as this year’s CES show in Las Vegas demonstrates. The total wearable market is slated to reach 48 million units and earn $5.5 billion in revenue in 2017, according to the show’s organizer, the Consumer Technology Association.
Case in point: the Inspiration Talk about connected health at the Mercedes-Benz stall moderated by tech evangelist Guy Kawasaki.
A car is the best place to pull in a holistic data set so modern algorithms can crunch the numbers and boost well-being, argued panelist Dr. David Agus, professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California. Since we all spend hours behind the wheel, a vehicle can serve as the central health hub, filled with sensors to gather biometric data, feed them back to the cloud and quickly serve up recommendations to driver and passengers.
Ola Källenius, Member of the Executive Board of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, pointed to the new features of Mercedes me’s vitality coach which visitors could experience in a Maybach on the show floor. The virtual coach lets users choose between various goals — from relaxation to increased activity levels. It turns the car into an integral part of their healthy lifestyle, from home to work and back, including tracking their pulse through the steering wheel when they’re driving. “Beyond safety, we want to put vitality at the center and make sure you feel better when you get out of the car than when you got in,” said Källenius. “Fit & Healthy features will touch the entire product line from top to bottom.”
Ola Källenius, Member of the Executive Board of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development
Biometrics-driven advanced driver assistance systems are a booming market, according to market researcher Frost & Sullivan. They predict that cloud-enabled, built-in technologies such as heart rate sensors, fatigue detection through gaze tracking and even brain wave monitoring will radically transform the driving experience between now and 2025.
As with all personalised services, giving the user ultimate control over their health data is key, cautioned Källenius: “Mercedes-Benz will not share this data with anybody and only use it as you like it to be used.” In the end, opined former Apple evangelist Kawasaki, sitting inside a Mercedes will “probably be healthier than anywhere else except a gym.”
CES 2017 in Las Vegas – read more on specific subjects here: