Ford technology could warn of heart attacks

The special seat uses six sensors in the backrest to monitor the heart rate of the driver, leaving the car capable of diagnosing heart conditions early.

“The ability to monitor hearts at the wheel could offer massive benefits in terms of health and road safety, both for the user and the wider public,” said RWTH Aachen University Professor Steffen Leonhardt.

Not only can it help to diagnose heart conditions the driver may not know exists, it could also possibly be linked to other systems to bring the car to a halt if the worst happens and the driver does have a heart attack at the wheel.

It could also contact emergency services if the driver has a heart attack at the wheel.

Leonhardt added: "The car is an obvious choice (for the technology); it’s a place where occupants spend long periods sitting in a rather calm position and a place that’s increasingly less physically demanding, making it the ideal environment to measure heart activity.”

However, the technology is some way off, says Ford, because the technology can only read heart rates through certain types of material.

Ford is a pioneer in safety technology in recent years. It is the only volume manufacturer to receive a EuroNCAP Advanced award on two occasions for its Lane Departure technology and Active City Stop, both of which are designed to prevent the driver straying out of their lane or striking an object.

Both of the technologies are included in the new Ford Focus, one of the most equipment-packed cars to ever enter the hatchback market.

The new Ford Focus is on sale now in the UK from under £16,000 for entry-level models.